The Trajectory Group: “Telematics is finally here to stay”

The Trajectory Group: “Telematics is finally here to stay”

What does your company do?

The Trajectory Group LLC is a strategic advisory, business development, and consulting services firm with deep expertise in the connected services and telematics space. Our very specific mission is to help our clients stay on the trajectory of success by shaping compelling business models, attractive value propositions, and winning business strategies. Often the greatest service lies in doing what our clients are not staffed to do or need assistance to accomplish while navigating this fast-changing market and competitive landscape.

The Trajectory Group brings specialized industry expertise, experience, tools, and frameworks to solve clients’ tough business problems and help them capitalize on the many market opportunities. Our focus is on challenging the status quo with breakthrough ideas, strategies, and solutions and serving key players in the telematics value chain. Our clients span the entire telematics value chain and include automotive OEMs, wireless carriers, tier 1 suppliers, telematics services providers, content providers, software and app developers, and start-up companies as well as venture capital or private equity companies.

How do you differentiate your offerings from competitors?

Definitely having worked on the other side of the table is a big competitive differentiator. Having actually worked for a car OEM, TSP, handset manufacturer, or GPS navigation software and hardware company myself gives me instant credibility, a very unique set of ‘real world’ experiences of how my clients work, think, and act. Also, I have faced many of the same challenges my clients are facing. This gives me a very short learning curve and allows me to penetrate the core of the problem much quicker and deeper than traditional consulting or industry analyst firms.

On top of that, The Trajectory Group has developed a unique set of frameworks and tools to help guide our clients through the strategic and operational aspects of the business problem. Last but not least my functional expertise, in particular in the product and marketing area as a former marketing executive, brings a market-demand side focus to the problem, which is often lacking in this technology-driven space.

What partnerships are you currently forging?

I enjoy and maintain an extensive network within the connected services industry and have relationships with most players. As an advisory firm, we have an advantage of looking at things more neutrally and objectively. I definitely see many opportunities out there that are intriguing and challenging. On a few of those we are adding our expertise and making a valuable difference bringing them onto the trajectory of growth and success. Unfortunately, some companies have not yet realized the serious threats and disruptions of new technologies and business models to their bottom line or do not have the processes and resources to develop a strategic plan and respond to those threats or identify new opportunities. It is time to get pro-active! Complacency is the enemy of innovation and change.

Telematics is now an essential part of the auto OEM strategy. What trends do you see impacting the industry over the next two to five years?

Having lived through the ups and downs of this industry over the last 10 years myself, I have to say telematics has definitely come a long way and is finally here to stay. In what form? That is the big question. I see a very energized ecosystem with lots of interesting opportunities and a flood of solutions and players entering and investigating entry into this space. I summarized a few of those developments in a recent presentation, “The connected car comes in many flavors”, available for free download on This presentation provides a detailed overview of over 20 different flavors of “connected car” solutions, including smartphone integration, automotive app stores, insurance telematics, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, car sharing, and mobility-as-a-service concepts.

I also see, however, major disruptions in the value chain challenging many existing paradigms of the industry. In particular, incumbent players and programs are not re-inventing themselves and their value propositions fast enough and not moving the value frontier in their favor. Companies that try to protect their status quo and don’t innovate will eventually face extinction due to ‘unexpected’ disruptions.

You are an integral part of the upcoming Telematics Detroit 2011 event. What key topics will you be discussing with the industry at the show?

A topic that is on top of everybody’s agenda is business models. Most think of them only in terms of revenue streams like subscription, one-time payment, or advertising models, which seem not always to work in the connected car space. In my point of view, the reason is that critical interdependencies in a business model are often ignored; in particular, how value is created (value proposition), how that value is captured (profit formula), as well as how it is delivered (key processes and resources). The interrelations are important and often misaligned or unbalanced and cannot easily be copied; or if they are copied, they don’t work in isolation from the rest.

Apple and Google show us these lessons every day. The Trajectory Group has developed a business model framework that guides our clients through the process, including the monetization opportunities of the connected car and connected services. We are looking forward to share our expertise with more players in the telematics space.

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

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