Will Continental's AutolinQ revolutionise the automotive telematics environment?

Will Continental's AutolinQ revolutionise the automotive telematics environment?

While AutolinQ may well usher in new business models that are simpler, more flexible, and better set to maximise payoffs for all players along the telematics value chain, there are issues of connectivity, the overall selling model, cross-industry collaboration and application types that must be ironed out first.

Continental's new model draws much of its inspiration from Apple – focusing on recurring revenue-creating applications rather than on the device itself. The use of third party-developed certified Google Android apps means that vehicle manufacturers can customise their platforms and establish brand differentiation. And Web 2.0 technologies will enable a host of car-specific Internet-based applications.

Despite important differences surrounding certification and safety questions, this move "clearly confirms the intention of automotive suppliers to embrace consumer electronics business models by shifting the focus from developing devices toward creating open ecosystems, whereby user experience, recurring revenues and type of applications receive more importance," says Frost & Sullivan's Automotive & Transportation Program manager, N. Praveen Chandrasekar.

Although AutolinQ dramatically simplifies the traditional value chain and maximises the win-win payoff, several questions must be answered in order to clearly estimate the success of this approach:

  • How will internet connectivity be enabled and who will bear the cost?
  • How will the overall selling model be structured given the difficulty in replicating the Apple model in the automotive world?
  • What types of applications do users want?
  • Will vehicle manufacturers be willing to surrender part of the product development process to third party developers?

By launching the Apple app store type AutolinQ platform, Continental took a big leap towards dramatically changing the automotive telematics segment.

However, Chandrasekar points out that this platform is still in the development stage, there are missing links in terms of the entire model, and the fact remains that it is a progressive development for a traditional automotive telematics community.

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