Weekly Brief: All the news from TU Detroit

In this week’s Brief: TU Detroit, BlackBerry, NNG, BMW, Parkopedia, Livio, QNX, Talksum, Ford, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers and the Federal Communications Commission.

As a testament to the growing strength of the telematics industry, Telematics Detroit 2013 was the largest it’s ever been, with 2,000 attendees and 100 exhibitors, a number of whom used the occasion to announce new products and services.

BlackBerry unveiled a new service that makes it easy for auto OEMs to update software over the air. How to make offerings as intuitive and customer friendly as possible was a frequent topic of conversation at the conference; continuously updated maps and apps are a good place to start.

BlackBerry’s Software Update Management for Automotive lets OEMs communicate directly with the vehicle and update over the air as frequently as they wish.

“BlackBerry is helping facilitate a rapid convergence between mobile computing and the auto industry as automakers seek to connect with customers wherever they may be,” David J. Smith, executive vice president, enterprise mobile computing, at BlackBerry, said at the show. “BlackBerry’s Software Update Management for Automotive service can transform the vehicle experience by enabling automakers to deliver new, compelling capabilities to their customers, long after the initial sale.”

NNG announced a new navigation solution that aims to combine the strengths of embedded navigation with the connectivity and currency of the smartphone. NavFushion is a built-in navigation offering.

By downloading the free NavFusion app and linking the smartphone to the head unit, customers can synchronize all navigation-related content, including contacts, favorites, navigation history, planned routes and maps.

The first iGO Navigation software with the NavFusion feature set is expected to launch in Q1 2014.

BMW selected Parkopedia as its new parking information provider. Parkopedia has more than 26,000 parking facilities in North America and almost twice that in Europe, thus providing available spaces in many of the world’s largest cities.

“In the era of the connected car, driver access to dynamic parking information is not a luxury, it's a necessity,” said Parkopedia’s CEO Eugene Tsyrklevich.

Livio released two new products intended to help OEMs generate new revenue from apps. The FM Traffic Button allows drivers to push a button and receive traffic reports that are updated every few minutes. OEMs can share revenue generated through ads during the reports.

Livio Keys, meanwhile, is a communication link between vehicle manufacturers and software developers that provides tools and customizable services. OEMs can provide month-long, free trials for an app, for instance, and then receive a portion of the pay if the driver then commits to a paid subscription. Livio Keys facilitates this communication.

QNX demonstrated a new version of its QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment, which enables developers of car infotainment systems to leverage a broader choice of mobile apps and content. Version 2.1 supports Android apps, in addition to HTML5 and OpenGL.

The platform now also supports the Qt 5 application framework, thus providing a flexible, high-performance option for creating both apps and HMIs. QNX says the updated platform will be available to select OEMs in July.

Talksum unveiled a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data processing, management and analytics solution.

The Talksum Data Stream product can be embedded in vehicles for V2V communications and within data centers for V2I initiatives. In the data center, the product also takes in other information, such as weather channel, RSS feeds, USGS and other feeds.

Outside of Telematics Detroit, Ford launched Ford SYNC in Taiwan. The service will debut on the Kuga model, where it will function in conjunction with MyFord Touch and AppLink services. MyFord Touch lets drivers control connected services via voice, touchscreen or conventional buttons.

BMW announced that, in addition to its Parkopedia partnership, it’s making its ConnectedDrive services more customer friendly by allowing drivers to pick and choose mobility services in the car. The apps on the head unit will thus vary from one vehicle to the next.

Among other upgrades, the services will now come with an Intelligent Emergency Call system that provides precise vehicle location and detection of accident severity to emergency responders.

Finally, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers responded to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal for broader use of wireless device communication.

The proposal would permit unlicensed wireless devices to operate in the same frequency band as that’s currently been designated for exclusive use for “time-critical” V2V and V2I communications.

The automakers requested significant further testing before such a proposal is accepted as they fear even fractional delays caused by frequency overloading could significantly affect auto and highway safety.

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 exclusive business analysis and insight about telematics applications, see Industry insight: Telematics and apps

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2013 on June 18-19 in Munich, V2V & V2I for Auto Safety USA 2013 on July 9-10 in Novi, MI, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago,Telematics Russia 2013 in September in Moscow, 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: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

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