Telematics in Russia, part III: Growing the market

Telematics in Russia, part III: Growing the market

Russian navigation provider Navitel and European electronics manufacturer Prestigio are expanding their partnership to include joint promotion of Navitel’s navigation services on Prestigio mobile devices. Under the terms of the agreement, a new application will come pre-installed on all new Prestigio tablets and smartphones, providing access to detailed maps and a range of other services, including traffic information, customizable routing, speed camera warnings, events information, and Navitel.Druzya, a service that helps drivers keep track of their friends' real-time whereabouts.

People who already own Prestigio mobile devices will be prompted to download the application, as long as they are running Android 4.0 or later. Prestigio has been collaborating with Navitel since 2008 and currently leads the Russian navigation market with a 28 percent share in volume, according to company reports. (For more on telematics in Russia, see Emerging Telematics Opportunities in Russia and Industry insight: Telematics and emerging markets.)

The Russian search engine Yandex, which claims more than 60 percent of all search traffic in the country, is also active in navigation. Its Yandex.Traffic service provides real-time information of urban traffic conditions and maps the data on its Yandex.Maps app. Once the Yandex.Maps app has been downloaded on an Internet-connected mobile device with a GPS function, such as a smartphone or PDA, the device sends the car’s location, direction and speed to Yandex.Traffic’s analytical system every few seconds. This data is combined with other information, from private users and Yandex partner fleet vehicles, to analyze traffic flow and detect traffic jams.

Security applications

“Russian customer demand is driven by what’s cheap and what’s needed,” says Dmytro Koshevy, analyst in global automotive and LBS for the consultancy IHS Automotive, and this applies in general to the telematics market, and specifically to the field of security.

For example, many Russian drives use inexpensive dash-mounted video cameras, or dash cams, to keep records of their driving in case of an accident or other mishap requires insurance company intervention. (The prevalence of dash cams in the country was the main reason there were so many video recordings of the meteor that crashed near the city of Chelyabinsk in mid-February.)

The dash cams and the fact that KASKO car insurance offers a discount of about 20 percent in premium payments for having some sort of factory-installed electronic security system on the vehicle have so far limited the use of sophisticated SVR systems to premium automobiles, Koshevy says. “SVT is mostly used in commercial vehicles to keep track of cargo,” he notes.

Volvo’s OnCall service offers stolen vehicle notification and tracking, which is provided by AutoLocator, one of three major Russian telematics security firms, the other two being Cobra and Cesar Satellite.

In addition, upon customer demand, BMW offers a tracking service as part of its ConnectedDrive system. The system sends GPS data at regular intervals to a center belonging to a BMW Service partner. It is activated when the owner reports that his vehicle has been stolen or, automatically, if the alarm is triggered or the car is moving without the ignition being switched on.

Stolen vehicle tracking

The Russian company working with BMW is Cesar Satellite. The company also counts Ford, Mazda and, now, GM as its clients, says Cesar Satellite’s chief business development officer,Massimiliano Kisvarday. Kisvarday says that about 120,000 cars are stolen every year in Russia and insurance companies have begun offering large premium discounts, up to 60 percent, for the installation of an SVR system.

For those who can afford it, Cesar Satellite offers a service that Kisvarday says is unique in Russia. “We have recovery teams with armed patrol agents that actively look for a car that has been stolen, using the SVT data from our monitoring centers,” he says. The service comprises more than 30 private patrol cars, Kisvarday says, and has recovered some 4,500 stolen cars since 1997. “The speed of reaction is critical,” he says. “And sometimes the reaction of the police is not immediate.”

Regarding infotainment, Koshevy notes that most Russians purchase low-end automobiles and so are most likely to have infotainment services only on their mobile devices. “No one really wants to pay an extra $1,500 when they can get the service through their smartphone or PND,” he says. The emphasis on cost even affects services provided by high-end car manufacturers. For example, the version of ConnectedDrive that BMW offers in Russia is a truncated version of what is offered to drivers in Western Europe.

Siegfried Mortkowitz is a regular contributor to TU.

Read Telematics in Russia, Part I: Waiting for ERA-GLONASS and Telematics in Russia, Part II: The impact of ERA-GLONASS.

For more on Russian and other emerging telematics markets, see Industry insight: Telematics and emerging markets.

For more on Russia, visit Telematics Russia 2013 on September 9-10 in Moscow.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Telematics Detroit 2013 on June 5-6, Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2013 on June 18-19 in Munich, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics LATAM 2013 in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 2013 on October 8-10 in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2013 on November 11-12.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Report, Human Machine Interface Technologies and Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics.

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