Octo Telematics launches insurance telematics services in the US, as Apple’s iPhone achieves double-digit growth

Octo Telematics launches insurance telematics services in the US, as Apple’s iPhone achieves double-digit growth

Insurance telematics leader Octo Telematics announced its arrival in the US marketplace through a joint venture with Directed Electronics, the largest designer of consumer-branded vehicle security and remote start systems in North America. Octo Telematics North America will be headquartered in Southern California and will offer a comprehensive range of vehicle telematics solutions to the US market, from usage-based insurance, driving behavior and mileage reporting to safety and security services, crash kinematics and dynamics reconstruction. Seattle-based Safeco Insurance, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, will be the company’s first US insurance customer. “Our union with Octo Telematics represents a unique opportunity for both companies to expand into the US insurance telematics market, and we look forward to a very successful relationship,” says Kevin Duffy, president of Directed Electronics and Octo Telematics North America Board Member.

Cobra Telematics released a raft of new service offers and innovative technologies to help insurance companies create and operate innovative car insurance policies. The satellite technology allows car insurers to provide qualitative feedback to the driver on different risk-related parameters, such as adherence to speed limits, type of road chosen, and acceleration and deceleration statistics. This data enables claim handling to become more transparent and efficient both for the insurer and for the insured driver.

RealVNC, along with Jaguar and Blackberry, unveiled a new software system that projects the display of a smartphone onto the central touch screen of a vehicle. Called “Connect and View,” the system replicates applications, music and navigation systems operating through the phone on the touch screen in the vehicle. The system was debuted on the Jaguar XJ at the BlackBerry World Conference and will be available in both Jaguar and Land Rover products from late 2012.

Volkswagen Group’s software supplier, e.solutions, signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft, which grants e.solutions access to Microsoft’s latest generation file system, exFAT. The agreement is the first of its kind that Microsoft has forged within the automotive sector. exFAT allows for larger media files to be stored on consumer electronic devices and increases the speed with which they can be accessed. exFAT will give car owners additional and reliable resources for bringing multimedia content into their vehicles.

Volkswagen North America announced a new Electronics Research Laboratory situated in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. The laboratory serves as an in-house think tank for Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen and aims to develop smarter cars through advanced driver assistance systems, infotainment platforms, and cutting-edge human-machine interfaces.

Corporate fleet managers rated higher and more volatile fuel prices as their top concern in 2011 in a survey conducted by GE Capital Fleet Services. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the recent spike in fuel prices has made this issue their top concern, up from 12 percent a year ago. The survey of 105 fleet managers also found increased concern for driver safety and cost savings. These concerns have already translated into increased interest for solutions in fuel, telematics and maintenance programs that help combat rising fuel costs and improve operational efficiency.

Continental announced plans to add a new stereo camera system to ContiGuard, its accident prevention and avoidance system. The camera system will sit behind the windshield and will consist of two high resolution mono-cameras that can reliably spot people, pets, and objects in a vehicle’s path and measure their height, distance from the vehicle, and direction of movement. The system uses the difference in the mono-camera’s optical paths to make the calculations.

Apple achieved double-digit-percentage growth in iPhone shipments in the first quarter and posted the best performance among the Top 5 smartphone competitors, new IHS iSuppli research reveals. Apple was helped by the addition of Verizon Wireless as a carrier in the US market. With shipments from Nokia, the No. 1 smartphone brand, declining by 14.5 percent during the first quarter, Apple made major strides toward achieving market leadership. Apple in the first quarter trailed Nokia by just 5.7 percentage points, compared to 12.2 points in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Mobile navigation supplier Sygic released a new version of its Software Development Kit that allows businesses to embed its navigation software in mobile phones, PNDs, and Android smartphones and tablets. The goal is to make the kit usable in field workforce solutions. The lowering price of Android smartphones and the overall quality of the software makes it a compelling platform to port mobile business software dedicated to logistics, transportation, and maintenance.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s thought leaders at Telematics Detroit 2011 in Novi, MI on June 8 and 9.

For more on insurance telematics, join the industry’s key players atInsurance Telematics USA 2011 inChicago IL, on September 8 and 9.

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