Weekly Brief: Ford introduces new fleet management platform in Europe

Weekly Brief: Ford introduces new fleet management platform in Europe

In this week’s Brief: Ford Motor Company, Telogis, 2014 IAA Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show, Sewells Research, Parkopedia, Estapar, BMW, Mojio, AT&T, MapQuest, Google Maps, Apple, Garmin, GM and U.K. Department for Transport.

It was a big week in fleet, as Ford Motor Company launched Ford Telematics, a fleet management platform for Ford’s commercial customers in Europe. Ford Telematics will closely mirror Ford Crew Chief, Ford’s fleet management service in North America, and will provide fleet customers with visibility into day-to-day operations including vehicle/driver location, vehicle/driver performance and vehicle diagnostics. Telogis, Ford’s existing Crew Chief partner, will power the platform.

Ford Telematics will be available to fleet customers as a dealer-installed option in select European markets and offered through Ford’s network of specialist Transit Centers. Ford unveiled the solution at the 2014 IAA Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show.

“Ford of Europe is delivering on customer demand for visibility, cost savings and safety with Ford Telematics powered by Telogis,” said Bill Frykman, manager, business and product development at Ford Motor Company. “Telogis is our trusted partner, and the success we’ve had with Ford customers in North America made them the only choice for Ford’s European platform offering.”

Sticking with fleet, executives across the U.K.’s largest fleets anticipate a rise in expenditure on telematics products in the next 12 months, according to new research by Sewells Research. Demand will mainly be driven within the van fleet sector, Sewells says, where there is greater acceptance of the benefits of telematics technology. Demand for products to monitor driver behaviour is most evident within NHS Trusts and the Bluelight sectors, where 88% of those questioned expect to spend more in 2015, despite most managers saying they are trying to reduce spending in all other areas.

In other news, parking information provider Parkopedia launched its parking service in Latin America, targeting initial markets in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Parkopedia has penned an exclusive partnership with Estapar, Latin America’s largest parking operator based in Brazil. It also revealed that it will integrate an in-car parking service into BMW ConnectedDrive for the region, which will be available in Brazil and Mexico. The expansion brings Parkopedia’s coverage to more than 35 million spaces in 50 countries.

Mojio partnered up with AT&T to launch an aftermarket cellular device that plugs into the OBD port, thus bringing connected car services to any vehicle manufactured after 1996 in North America. Mojio is built on an open platform that supports an ecosystem of third-party apps; apps already in development include parking payments, automated trip expensing, simplified car rental and home automation connections. Mojio will be available in the US in time for the holiday season and will retail for $149.

 

In navigation, MapQuest introduced a free standalone app called “Commute” that provides real-time road conditions and traffic push notifications to drivers. Commute monitors traffic congestion, weather, construction and accidents along daily routes to work, school or other common destinations, and proactively alerts the user to expected travel times ahead. The app includes alternate routing and voice-guided directions.

Google Maps added 16 new countries where turn-by-turn directions are available, upping the total to 96. The newest additions are concentrated in Africa, South America, Asia and the Caribbean. The full list of countries in alphabetical order are: Angola, Bahamas, Bolivia, Botswana, Fiji, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Trinidad & Tobago.

Two weeks after Apple heated up the wearables market with the launch of the Apple Watch, Garmin announced Connect IQ, an open platform for third-party developers to create apps for Garmin wearables. Garmin’s wearables range from fitness bands to GPS running watches to marine watches to heart rate monitors. How these can be connected with automobiles remains to be seen; Connect IQ will be available on select Garmin wearables in 2015.

GM created a new cyber-security chief to focus on privacy and hacking concerns inherent to the connected car revolution. With the growing trend toward autonomous or semi-autonomous in-car technologies and in-dash infotainment systems that feature apps, email and social media, the chief will have plenty to keep him busy in attempting to resassure customers of their data security. GM named Jeffrey Massimilla, a former infotainment manager at GM, as its first cyber-security chief.

Finally, the U.K. Department for Transport went on record with the BBC stating that using the Apple Watch (or any other smartwatch for that matter) while driving will raise a serious red flag for cops. The agency stopped short of saying that any and all usage is prohibited while driving, as it is with smartphones. But sending texts via smartwatch is prohibited and will result in a  £100 fine, as will any other behavior that leads to dangerous, inconsiderate or out-of-control driving. The agency told the BBC that it’s considering a number of further options to deter drivers, while the Institute of Advanced Motorists urged OEMs to adopt the responsibility message as well: “It’s possible that manufacturers might think it’s not their responsibility to warn drivers about the dangers, but they need to be pushing the responsible message too.”

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 TU contributor.


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