Telematics Update interviews InstallerNet’s Frank Pellitta

Telematics Update interviews InstallerNet’s Frank Pellitta
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Rebecca Mantle: To ease us in, please sum up InstallerNet in a nutshell …

Frank Pellitta: InstallerNet is widely known in the industry as having the largest network of professional installers in the US and Canada. But InstallerNet was actually founded as a technology company, and it continues to be a leading technology and solutions provider to companies in both mobile consumer electronics as well as commercial fleets.

RM: Insurance-telematics is a really hot topic at the Fleet & Asset Management USA 2009 conference & exhibition. What are your observations on the transition and adoption of insurance-telematics within the commercial fleet space?

FP: Telematics has gone through a much quicker acceptance period in the commercial world than in the consumer world based on the clearly visible ROI of using telematics for commercial fleets as well as availability of software applications that meet the needs of fleet owners.

The use of telematics in the insurance industry is still in its infancy … even the Progressive TripSense/MyRate technology offering, which has been around for a number of years, only recently began to send data from the vehicle wirelessly.

So, as insurance companies look for ways to offer a complimentary product to MyRate and ways to differentiate their telematics offering, they will typically look at telematics applications for personal lines (mileage/driver behaviour programs as well as teen safety programs) as well as fleet insurance programs.

Early commercial telematics offerings from companies such as Qualcomm provided – and continue to provide – an application suite to supply fleet managers with the data required to manage their business efficiently. These solutions have also excelled at providing feedback to commercial drivers in terms of data points to continuously improve driver habits, both for safety as well as fuel efficiency.

As insurance companies now enter the market of providing telematics-based products to their fleet customers, they must now offer similar applications designed to meet the needs of fleet owners and drivers, as well as choose the best technology that can provide the required data points on which to base premiums.

RM: As experts in the field of installation, what services do you provide to insurance players?

FP: With the myriad aftermarket telematics products now available, InstallerNet is able to consult with insurers on the technology choices being offered by the many companies who have chosen to partner with InstallerNet for nationwide services. As we look at various technologies and services with the insurer, we are able to focus on the end ROI for the insurer as well as the ROI for the fleet owner.

RM: What are the key issues for insurers that the telematics players need to consider if convergence is to be mainstreamed?

FP: Insurers raise questions and seek information to aid the formation of effective programs that will appeal to fleet owners, commercial drivers and, at the same time, provide the data points they themselves require. Many of these issues also need to be considered by those developing telematics offerings aimed at consumers purchasing personal line insurance.

Key questions insurers need to answer before moving forward include:

* Do I want to go with a ‘black box' technology that is professionally installed and therefore tied to a specific vehicle, or with an OBDII ‘dongle' device that can be user-installed but also has the potential to easily be removed?

* Do I want to try to:

– Pull data directly from the OBDII port of a vehicle (which can provide very good data, but with varying results for data points based on the manufacturer and model year of the vehicle)?

– Primarily rely on features of the hardware device (such as GPS, accelerometer, digital/analogue I/O, serial I/O) to provide key data points (which requires a more lengthy installation, but may be more capable of providing granular data above and beyond the OBDII standard protocol)?

Or try a combination of both?

* Do I want to provide a "Driver Score" back to the fleet manager which is typically based on data extracted from the devices internal (or an external) accelerometer, and provides analytics on factors such as hard acceleration, hard braking, hard cornering and impact alerts.

* Do I want to provide real time feedback to the driver on these driver behavior metrics? Should this feedback in the form of an audio alert, a visual alert, or both?

* Does the device need to be able to provide crash notification? Stolen vehicle alert? Provide a means to signal for roadside assistance? Remote door unlock?

* Do I want the device to be able to provide accident reconstruction?

* What other applications do I want to provide to the driver that directly impact/relate to safe driving: Navigation-assisted routing? Bluetooth hands-free calling? Tyre pressure monitor systems? At the Fleet & Asset Management show we'll be demonstrating a system that prevents drivers from starting the vehicle if a pre-defined presence of alcohol is detected from the driver.

* As an insurer, what subsidies should be provided for hardware and services for(including monthly fees)my client base?

Again, the key question is: What device (or combination of devices) will provide the data required by insurers while gaining mass market acceptance by the fleet managers and end users?

RM: Name a hot trend on the industry radar that you would like to see discussed at Fleet & Asset Management USA 2009?

FP: One trend that InstallerNet is seeing is the concept of combining the telematics device with connectivity to popular consumer devices, which increases the attractiveness and therefore acceptance from a consumer standpoint. Options include connectivity to a PND – providing true connected navigation through the telematic device's cellular connection; Bluetooth hands free car kits; satellite radio;and iPod integration. Since InstallerNet has relationships with many of these suppliers for providing consumer installations, we have been able to develop bundled solutions to reduce installation costs and provide dual branded promotions.

RM: Identify a key technical aspect that insurers will need to consider when planning solutions?

FP: In terms of a hardware/software platform, probably the most important aspect to keep in mind is choosing a platform that will give the insurer the flexibility to add applications and functionality as new feature sets quickly come to market over the next few years. For those choosing a self contained OBDII device, InstallerNet offers a comprehensive, up-to-date OBDII location guide complete with location photos and even protocol versions for more than 22,500 vehicles. For those choosing to provide a ‘black box' solution, InstallerNet can assist with choosing the appropriate hardware solution and application suite, along with installation services and training programs geared towards both large and small fleets and the respective installers.

RM: One final thought?

FP: As insurers search for the right combination of telematics technologies and applications for the millions of personal vehicles on the road, they are increasingly likely to follow the path of mainstream telematics and target the commercial fleet market with new concepts and product offerings.

Frank Pellitta has more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience in electronics technology, more than ten of which are in the field of vehicle electronics and telematics – including automotive OEM and aftermarket, fleet and insurance telematics. Prior to InstallerNet, Pellitta worked at Lectronix and QNX.

Fleet & Asset Management USA 2009 is proud to announce an exclusive joint presentation from Liberty Mutual and GE Security on the partnership potential of insurance-telematics. This is a first-time occurrence at Fleet & Asset Management and is hotly anticipated!

The conference will also host a dynamic panel session to discuss and dissect the issues surrounding insurance-telematics integration and provide solutions to drive forward Industry convergence.

Panelists include:

  • Michael Slattery, consumer innovation, Liberty Mutual Agency Markets
  • Rick Dunn, product marketing manager, GE Security
  • Roger Dewey, CEO & managing member, M2MV
  • Frank Pellitta, vice president – wireless & telematics, InstallerNet
  • Alex Laurie, consulting actuary, Towers Perrin
  • Cyril Zeller, director ofbsiness development, Mobile Devices

Click here to view the complete conference program and speaker line-up.

Click here to register for the conference as early-bird pricing to expire soon.


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