Weekly Brief: Welcome to the world of in-dash shopping

In this week’s Brief: Renault, Atos, Orange Business Services, Sprint, IBM, TomTom, Google, Ofcom, O2, Vodafone, ZENRIN DataCom, INFOTRACK TELEMATICS, BMW, Deezer, Napster by Rhapsody, TuneIn, Audible and Glympse.

The past several years have witnessed a spate of new mobile apps that allow users to pay for items with a quick scan of their smartphones (Google Wallet, Zapp and the Paypal app, to name a few). Who’s to say the car won’t be next?

This week Renault announced a partnership with Atos, an expert in electronic payments and transactional services, to offer secure in-car shopping. The solution will be delivered via Renault's R-Link and powered by R-Link Cloud services platform.

Atos has entrusted connectivity to Orange Business Services, one of the main business telecommunications operators in the world. Details remain scant about the scope of what users will be able to buy from the car and the Renault models in which the solutions will be available.

“Our relationship with time and space is changing rapidly,” says Jean-François Martin, director of Renault Services International. “We are becoming increasingly mobile, connected, demanding, including when we are in our car.

"With R-Link, Renault aims to offer customers not only the car that suits them, but [also] the most cutting-edge personalized and interactive services.”

In other news, Sprint rolled out a new partnership with IBM to strengthen its Sprint Velocity offering. Sprint says that it will now use IBM MobileFirst — a solution designed to enable organizations to manage and communicate with mobile devices and sensors found in automobiles, traffic management systems, smart buildings, etc. — to simplify and speed up the delivery of connected car services.

These services will include mobile concierge offerings, automatic cabin temperature adjustments, preferred alternate routes and location tracking.

TomTom beefed up its map offering in Brazil in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Specifically TomTom deployed its Mobile Mapping (MoMa) technology, which identifies new speed limits, lane changes, new toll roads and updates to road restrictions.

TomTom has started deployment in Sao Paulo state and aims to expand to the rest of the country before summer 2014 rolls around. Users can also report road changes to TomTom via its MapShare crowd-sourcing functionality.

Google unveiled a new version of its Google Maps app, which allows users to get a better understanding of traffic conditions through advanced incident details. Google Maps will now alert drivers on the move if a faster route has opened up.

The updated app also includes an "Explore" feature that illuminates POIs in the vicinity with a tap on the screen. Google removed offline maps and replaced it with an “OK Maps” feature, which allows users to save maps for later viewing. The new app is available on Android now, with iPhone and iPad versions to follow.

In the U.K., telecommunications regulator Ofcom announced that it will allow 2G spectrum to be “refarmed” for 4G LTE services. Refarming entails repurposing existing 2G networks for high-speed 4G LTE services. By creating more 4G capacity, Ofcom says it hopes to open up the field for more mobile network operators to get into the 4G game.

Most mobile network operators are understandably excited about the ruling, although experts suggest that refarming can take years and that we should expect to see the stalwarts of O2 and Vodafone dominating the 4G space in the meantime.

In Asia, Japanese navigation provider ZENRIN DataCom acquired Singapore-based INFOTRACK TELEMATICS. ZENRIN says it hopes to accelerate expansion of its B2B location-based business, which includes a fleet tracking system. It will start in India and emerging Asian countries and then move onto the Middle East and North Africa. 

INFOTRACK has a solid  customer base in the fields of logistics and transportation in Southeast Asia. ZENRIN did not disclose how much it paid for the acquisition.

Finally, BMW expanded its BMW Apps option for the Apple iPhone with new offerings from partners like Deezer (subscription music service), Napster by Rhapsody (subscription music service), TuneIn (Internet radio), Audible (downloadable audio books and other spoken-word content) and Glympse (real-time location sharing). BMW drivers can use the new services via the iDrive Controller.

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.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on Sept. 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics Brazil & LATAM 2013 on Sept. 11-12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 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.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out 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.

– See more at: http://analysis.telematicsupdate.com/other/weekly-brief-brazil-and-us-push-back-mandates#sthash.EYBRXpya.dpuf

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