Progressive launches new insurance telematics program as Strategy Analytics predicts connected telematics revenues to triple

Progressive launches new insurance telematics program as Strategy Analytics predicts connected telematics revenues to triple

Auto insurance provider Progressive launched a new telematics program, Progressive Snapshot Discount. The program employs a telematics device that plugs into the on-board diagnostic port of a policyholder’s car and delivers driving data wirelessly to Progressive. The amount the car is driven, how fast, and other variables determine the driver’s insurance rate. Progressive was one of the first auto insurers to experiment with telematics. Its first telematics initiative, TripSense, gave way to MyRate, which in turn has led to Progressive Snapshot Discount. The new program is available in more than a dozen states, including South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Google and Verizon in pay-for-speed deal

Google and Verizon are negotiating a deal that would allow companies to pay for some content to be delivered over the Internet faster to users. The Internet policy of net neutrality currently stipulates that all content—no matter how obscure, technical, gossipy, or critical—should be delivered to users at the same speed. If the deal goes through, it will mean that companies can create a hierarchy of Web efficiency, something all companies that utilize the Internet—including those in the telematics space—must contend with.

Quartix adds Google Maps

Quartix integrated Google Maps into its pay-as-you-go vehicle tracking solution. Now operators can easily zoom in on and trace a vehicle on a live tracking screen. The solution also allows customers to pull up any location named in a journey report on a Google Map with advanced satellite, terrain, and hybrid view features. In the first quarter of 2010, Quartix introduced pay-as-you-go vehicle tracking, a first for a UK telematics company. Fifty percent of its new clients already select this payment option. The company hopes that percentage will increase further with the implementation of Google Maps.

Scope launches new fleet hardware

Scope Technologies announced a low-cost, self-installed fleet telematics device, the MHub 837. The device is a driver-behavior-monitoring and GPS-tracking solution specifically tailored for the pay-as-you-drive insurance market. The primary purpose of the device is to provide vehicle and driver activity information that can be used to assess the risk levels associated with any given driver or vehicle. Behavior patterns analyzed by the device include harsh braking, aggressive lane swerving, and road segment speeding. The unit is self-installed via a connection to the vehicle's OBD II port.

iQ-Telematics offers new safety solutions

iQ-Telematics announced new software that requires drivers to practice safe driving habits in order for in-vehicle functions to work. For instance, if a driver doesn’t have both hands on the wheel, the music or other infotainment functions will be disabled. The goal of the software is to use telematics to make people better, more focused drivers, especially young people new to the wheel or workers hauling hazardous waste. iQ-Telematics is currently raising seed capital and securing patents before commercializing the product.

MiX Insight Reports releases business intelligence tool

MiX Telematics launched a new business intelligence tool for FM-Web, the company’s flagship fleet management service. The tool, dubbed MiX Insight Reports, is an online data warehouse that stores detailed fleet data. A glossy user interface allows customers to quickly and easily arrange real-time and historical fleet data in various formats. That data can then be culled into comprehensive reports or rendered via a GeoSpatial feature that breaks down vehicle trips by state, city, and street. MiX Insight Reports is available for any company in North America.

Nice GPS glasses. Where did you get them?

Engineers at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan have morphed everyday reading glasses into a state-of-the-art GPS navigation solution. The glasses run off battery power and house a microcomputer, a magnetic directional sensor, and LED lights in the rims. The lights appear in the periphery of the pedestrian’s field of vision. When they flash on one side or another (or straight ahead), the pedestrian knows to walk in that direction. The goal of the device is to negate the need to look down at a smartphone or a PND, instead allowing you to keep your eyes focused where you’re going. The engineers hope to introduce sunglasses with the same capacity and to make the glasses fit for drivers as well as pedestrians.

Connected telematics revenues set to boom

Connected telematics revenues will triple by 2016, according to two new reports from Strategy Analytics. The firm attributes the growth to OEMs expanding their offerings in more countries with more feature sets. The rise of the smartphone is another factor; OEMs want to get apps into cars, and get them in there as seamlessly and as soon as possible. As revenues grow, so too will competition, the firm says. Thus, assessment of product opportunities will be critical. The reports are titled “Connected Vehicle Telematics: Car Maker Profiles” and “Automotive Telematics Services: Shifts in Pricing and Monetization Expected.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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