Weekly Brief: Kissing 2G goodbye

Weekly Brief: Kissing 2G goodbye

In this week’s Brief: Infiniti, AT&T, Toyota, MINI, Ford, ESPN Cricinfo, MapmyIndia, burrp!, Glympse, TuneIn Radio, Insurance Box, IntelliTrac, KORE WIRELESS, QBE Insurance Group, Elektrobit, Garmin, Inrix and TomTom.

Technology changes quickly; cars do not.

Last week, the telematics industry was reminded of just this when it surfaced that many of Infiniti’s existing telematics services will stop working after 2016. The trouble stems from Infiniti’s reliance on AT&T’s 2G network, which AT&T says will be discontinued on Dec. 31, 2016.

Most new electronics devices run on 4G – 3G at the very least – with 5G likely to emerge in 2014. By comparison, 2G is woefully outdated, although when Infiniti first launched its telematics platform, 2G was cutting-edge.

“Once the 2G network is terminated, Infiniti Connection and Infiniti Connection Plus services will not function unless equipment replacements, upgrades or alternative 2G network coverage are available at that time, which Infiniti cannot guarantee,” said Infiniti in a spec sheet for the QX80 model.

The luxury vehicle division of Nissan has yet to comment publicly on the issue.

In other news, Toyota unveiled a new advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) dubbed “Automated Highway Driving Assist.” The system harnesses two automated driving technologies: cooperative-adaptive cruise control, which wirelessly communicates with preceding vehicles to maintain a safe distance, and “Lane Trace Control,” which helps keep the vehicle on an optimal driving course within the lane.

Toyota emphasized that drivers will maintain control of their vehicles and that ADAS technologies won’t eliminate the “fun-to-drive aspect of controlling a vehicle.” The system wil trial on the Shuto Expressway near Tokyo.

Also on the ADAS front, MINI added a video-based speed and distance control that automatically keeps a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Other upgrades to its driver assist system include a speed limit information function that detects and displays local speed limits, a head-up display, and collision and pedestrian warning systems, which include a city braking feature that helps drivers avoid bumper-to-bumper collisions in city traffic.

In India, Ford announced plans to roll out SYNC AppLink at the start of 2014. SYNC AppLink allows greater communication between smartphone apps and AppLink-equipped vehicles through voice commands. The platform is planned to be introduced in India with ESPN Cricinfo, MapmyIndia, burrp!, Glympse and TuneIn Radio. Ford says it will encourage app developers to add new applications as well.

In Australia, Insurance Box selected telematics technology from IntelliTrac to power Australia’s first usage-based insurance (UBI) solution. IntelliTrac, which partnered with KORE Wireless on the solution, will provide an embedded solution as well as an online portal to allow Australian drivers to review their drive scores and provide tips on how their driving behavior may be improved to further reduce premiums. Insurance Box, a new division of QBE Insurance Group, is now available for trials.

Elektrobit released a new version of EB Guide, its human machine interface (HMI) development platform. EB Guide 5.5 offers a wider range of consumer-inspired features, including 3D content import, graphical animations and speech recognition for dynamic data. The platform also allows carmakers and suppliers to easily integrate HTML5 app-like content.

Finally, in an ongoing navigation feud, Garmin and Inrix fired back after an independent study last week declared TomTom the most accurate aftermarket solution for real-time traffic data.

Garmin, which performed pitifully in the study (one gadget producing just 4% accuracy), and Inrix, which performed slightly better with 38% accuracy, questioned TomTom’s sponsorship status of the study and the study’s analytical methods. Not surprisingly, TomTom stood by the report’s findings.

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 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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