Weekly Brief: Can cars and homes finally talk?

Weekly Brief: Can cars and homes finally talk?

In this week’s Brief: Denso, Sharp Corporation, Octo Telematics, MCL Insurance Services, Nokia HERE, Mercedes-Benz, Continental, Magneti Marelli, deCarta, Symphony Teleca, Guardtime, Shanghai OnStar, IHS Automotive and TomTom.

Cars and homes have traditionally operated on very different wavelengths. That may be about to change if Denso has a say in the matter. Last week, the automotive supplier signed an agreement to buy $25.4 million worth of shares in home electronics company Sharp Corporation, with the aim of bringing the car and home closer together.

Denso highlights entertainment as one area of opportunity. What if someone listening to a favorite song in their living room could walk into their garage, slide the key in the ignition and find the same song continued in the cabin of their car? The same could happen with a movie for kids on a rear-seat infotainment screen. Smart home automation is another area of promise, with home electronics and other systems powering down the moment the car pulls out of the garage.

In other news, Octo Telematics partnered with MCL Insurance Services to introduce an insurance telematics offering in the Irish market. Branded BoxyMo, the offering will be a permanently fitted telematics box that monitors driving behavior like speed, braking and cornering. Octo and MCL say that BoxyMo will specifically target young drivers between ages 17 and 25. In addition to savings of up to 30% on annual premiums, safe driving will generate reward miles.

In its first big move since being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia HERE announced new partnerships with Mercedes-Benz, Continental and Magneti Marelli. HERE and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop smart maps for connected and self-driving cars. Continental says that it’s implanted 3D content from Nokia HERE maps into its infotainment platforms. And Magneti Marelli plans to combine dynamic content from the HERE Auto Cloud (e.g. real-time traffic information, parking and fuel prices) with the Magneti Marelli open platform to develop an end-to-end connected driving solution for automakers.

Location-based-services (LBS) company deCarta launched the Connected Car Platform, an LBS-focused infotainment platform that provides drivers with relevant content such as traffic, gas prices, speed cameras and parking based on their location and direction of travel. deCarta’s patented SAAR technology allows drivers to set a maximum deviation from their route and thus filter out useless results from far off the route or behind the driver. Auto OEMs will be able to customize the platform either as a platform as a service (PaaS) or licensed software.

On the automotive Big Data front, Symphony Teleca announced that it has integrated greater security measures into its “Insight Connect Vehicle Relationship Management” offering. The company has partnered with Guardtime, which uses what it calls “Keyless Signature Infrastructure” to authenticate data. Symphony Teleca says this is a critical step as more and more OEMs begin to transfer data to and derive insights from the Cloud.

In China, Shanghai OnStar announced the launch of its new “OnConnect” services, which allow subscribers to share in real time their current location, vehicle location, destination and related information with their friends and family over desired social networks. If a driver shares a location, for instance, another driver with OnConnect can receive the coordinates and immediately download them into his or her dashboard, with the route and destination popping up on queue. OnConnect is available for iOS and Android platforms.

As further evidence of the growing market for telematics in China, IHS Automotive published a report forecasting that the market for automotive infotainment will increase threefold by 2020, growing from $2.3 billion in 2012 to $7.1 billion. IHS forecasts that 8.2 million navigation units will be shipped in China in 2020.

Finally, TomTom published research suggesting that van drivers are better, safer, more thoughtful when using their personal vehicles rather than work vans. More than a third of U.K. van drivers admit to driving more carefully when using their personal vehicle – 67% to save money on fuel and vehicle wear and tear, 29% because of the absence of working time pressures. Almost 60% said they were more likely to speed or take risks in their work vehicles as a result of working time pressures.

“Greener, safer, more efficient driving practices require businesses to collaborate with their drivers,” said Thomas Schmidt, managing director of TomTom Business Solutions. “Appropriate fleet management technology can play a major role in this, offering clear management information and helping to raise awareness of responsible driving by providing real-time feedback to drivers.”

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 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, Content and Apps for Automotive USA 2013 on Dec. 11-12 in San Francisco, Consumer Telematics Show 2014 on Jan. 6, 2014, in Las Vegas. 

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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