Weekly Brief: All the news from Chicago to Frankfurt

Weekly Brief: All the news from Chicago to Frankfurt

In this week’s Brief: Sprint, IMS, Modus, Driveway Software, Telit, ILS Technology, Bosch SoftTec, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota Motor Europe, Google and Panoramio.

Insurance telematics has been on the brink of a big breakthrough for almost a decade now. But things have been heating up of late, and it showed last week as players across the insurance telematics spectrum descended on Chicago for the largest ever Telematics Update conference devoted to insurance telematics. 

A number of companies took the opportunity to make news at the event. 

Sprint, for example, announced an enhancement of its UBI platform with a pair of new offerings: a set of premium connected services from IMS and a new text-disablement feature.

The new connected services with IMS add to Sprint’s basic UBI offering and include vehicle reports, accident detection, e-mail, local music, and Twitter and Facebook updates. The text-disablement feature allows insurers to block the sending and receiving of text messages on a driver’s phone while the car is in motion.

“Text disablement enables auto insurance carriers and self-insured organizations to improve driver risk assessment and encourage good driving behavior,” said Ben Vos, vice president of Sprint’s Emerging Solutions Group.

In addition to making the Sprint news, IMS also announced a new insurance telematics solution for fleets. The embedded solution is an add-on to IMS’ existing Fleet Intelligence offering, which already provides fleet managers with real-time vehicle location, behavior-based events and alerts (speeding, acceleration and braking), and fuel consumption, among others.

Driveway Software, meanwhile, announced its formal entry into the insurance telematics space with the SmartUBI Platform for fleets. The solution claims to make entry to the UBI market affordable and easy by leveraging smartphones to monitor driving behavior and capture data.

Telit also made news at the conference with the acquisition of ILS Technology, a provider of ready-to-use, off-the-shelf cloud platform services. As with Sprint’s new premium connected services, Telit’s acquisition targets the value-added services niche of the market, which many insurance telematics players believe will distinguish UBI offerings moving forward.

With ILS Technology, Telit expands the reach of its m2mAIR business unit deeper into Internet-based services, where M2M adopters have been seeking better, more integrated solutions.

Switching topics and continents, more news surfaced last week in the build-up to the Frankfurt Motor Show, which gets underway on Sept. 12. This time, it was Bosch’s SoftTec division turning heads as it hinted at the imminent debut of a new infotainment platform dubbed “MySPIN.”

The platform links popular smartphone applications to automotive dashboards and provides developers with a software development kit to ensure that new apps will be compatible. The MySPIN companion app will be downloadable from iTunes and Google Play. 

Jaguar Land Rover has already signed on and plans to demo a MySPIN-enabled Range Rover Sport on the exhibition floor at the Frankfurt show.

Meanwhile,Toyota Motor Europe  announced that it will debut an updated infotainment system, which integrates Google Street View and Panoramio services into its Touch 2 & Go platform. Demonstration units will be available to customers and journalists at Frankfurt Motor Show starting on Sept. 10.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Telematics Brazil & LATAM 2013 on Sept. 11-12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan/China 2013 on Oct. 8-10 in Tokyo, Telematics Munich 2013 on Nov. 11-12 in Munich, Germany, Telematics for Fleet Management USA 2013 on Nov. 20-21 in Atlanta, Georgia, and Content and Apps for Automotive USA 2013 on Dec. 11-12 in San Francisco.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

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