Integrated smartphones Weekly Brief—3.26.12

Integrated smartphones Weekly Brief—3.26.12

In this week's Brief: Juniper Research, MapQuest, Coyote System, Vivint, Better Place, Renault, Decell, Viktoria Insitute, Volvo Cars,

Göteborg Energi, and Ericsson

The integration of the smartphone into consumer vehicles will become all but standard on new models, according to a report by Juniper Research. The report forecasts that 92 million vehicles will feature technology to integrate the smartphone into the head-unit by 2016.

New protocols such as MirrorLink from the Connected Car Consortium will help automotive manufacturers like  Mercedes and Toyota follow Ford in introducing technology which allows the smartphone to become hub, enabling mobile internet, smartphone app and content access across the range of vehicles that they sell.

"Integrating the smartphone into consumer cars represents a new route for the mobile Internet and infotainment to enter the vehicle," says report author Anthony Cox. 

The report notes that the main inhibitor for this form of telematics will be limited growth in the automotive market over the next five years, particularly in developed regions.

MapQuest announced that its mobile app received 7.2 million downloads in 2011. That accounted for marketshare of 23.4 percent of all mobile map users in the U.S., placing it as the second most popular mobile maps and directions brand behind Google.

Other interesting data the company revealed: 54 percent of MapQuest users are female; men come back to MapQuest more often and spend slightly longer per visit; and women are still more likely to ask for directions online.

Coyote System unveiled a device that aims to detect driver drowsiness and mitigate the risk for accidents. The device works by creating a driver profile based on habitual speed, direction changes, time of day and duration of trips.

When drivers start to deviate from their typical behavior, the device asks them a question and, based upon the response, provides directions to the nearest exit or road stop. The company, which is based in France, says that French research suggests that 18 percent of road deaths are due to driver drowsiness.

Vivint, a leading provider of home technology services in North America, announced that more than 50 percent of new Vivint customers are using at least one home automation feature. The company added a Home Automation package to its existing security and energy management offerings in early 2011.

With companies ranging from telecommunications, consumer technology and home improvement announcing plans to begin offering home automation services to consumers, the market for M2M services connecting smart homes to smart cars is likely to experience growth.

Better Place announced that Decell will now supply a real-time traffic feed for Better Place infotainment units. Better Place currently supplies Renault’s electric vehicle line with an in-car telematics system dubbed Oscar.

The live traffic feed is expected to be integrated into the service offering immediately. Decell will also supply Better Place with advanced analytic capabilities in addition to its premium traffic data.

The Viktoria Institute, with support from Volvo Cars, Göteborg Energi, and Ericsson, announced a cross-industry platform that aims to digitize the charging infrastructure for electric vehicle car owners.

The platform will harness existing mobile networks and the grid and envisions an electricity meter in the vehicle that allows control of charging, either immediately or on a schedule set by the driver, with the costs being allocated against the driver’s bill.

Stakeholders say the platform will increase usability for drivers and help build an ecosystem that makes it easier to deploy electric cars around the world.

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