Wrap up from the Insurance Telematics USA conference

Wrap up from the Insurance Telematics USA conference

ISO launched GeoMetric, a new vehicle decision tool that provides insurers with a way to analyze the risk of drivers based upon the actual locations where they drive. The device collects GPS data from telematics devices and allows insurers to assess risk while keeping the actual driving locations private. “We designed GeoMetric to provide insurers with the information needed to make better decisions when creating more individualized products while protecting policyholder privacy,” says Steven Craig, general manager of ISO’s Applied Informatix unit.

Policyholder privacy was a central talking point at the first annual Insurance Telematics USA conference, hosted by Telematics Update in Chicago. Some consumer and privacy advocates object to the use of GPS data to record driving behavior and vehicle location as an infringement of privacy. Until insurance companies can overcome this hurdle, the nascent insurance telematics industry may be held in check. GeoMetric offers a solution the company believes will resonate with everyday drivers. “Our nationally representative survey on telematics conducted this past June with more than 1,000 Americans indicates a desire for privacy, but a willingness to share some detail or information that would allow a more individualized insurance premium,” says Craig.

Insurance telematics gets a Dongle

Mobile Devices announced an open-sourced OBDII Dongle and display unit for the vehicle insurance industry. The open platform allows insurers to deploy a low-cost solution today and still be able to plug in affordable high-end services tomorrow. To date, the complexity of the business case for insurance telematics has forced most players to seek low-end solutions to limit the initial entry cost, resulting in limitations in the quality and span of services. With Dongle, companies can rapidly and cost-effectively deploy basic services and then easily add upgraded services, like live traffic or speed camera warning, without the need for a new data plan. One company in the US insurance industry, yet to be disclosed, has adopted the solution.

Harman and Aha Mobile

Harman International acquired Aha Mobile, a leading provider of on-demand mobile and location-based Internet content services. Aha Mobile is a pioneer in allowing users to safely access their favorite news, entertainment, and social media via in-vehicle infotainment systems or smartphones. Aha Mobile launched its “Aha Radio” app for the iPhone earlier this year, which has since become popular among mobile users for sharing real-time, location-based traffic reports, entertainment, and social network information. In addition to planned integration with Harman systems, Aha Mobile will continue to work with third parties to enable customized Web content on their products by leveraging the Aha platform.

CarEconomy

DriveGain unveiled CarEconomy, a free iPhone app that shows your average fuel economy as you drive. Unlike existing fuel economy apps, which require drivers to type in mileage and the amount of fuel they put into their cars when they fill up, CarEconomy requires no user input. You just select your vehicle and then drive. “Many cars in the US, and smaller cars in Europe, do not have a fuel economy meter as standard,” says Simon East, CEO of DriveGain. “Our free CarEconomy application allows users driving these cars to know what kind of fuel economy they are getting.”

BUMP.com

Mobile-communications start-up BUMP.com announced its official launch at the DEMO Fall 2010 technology conference. BUMP.com allows users to send voice, text, and email messages to motorists based on their license plate numbers alone. Once a message has been sent to a license plate through the BUMP.com service, the information is stored in the service’s database until the owner of the plate registers with BUMP.com. The company envisions numerous marketing models, like fast food companies using BUMP.com to profile the purchasing habits and preferences of drive-through customers, and professional sports teams using the service to market directly to the fans who attend events. The service can also be used for drivers to call out other drivers on poor driving.

Telmap Navigator for Palm

Telmap announced a special edition of Telmap Navigator for Palm webOST, allowing Telmap’s location-based services solution to be accessed on Palm PreT and Palm Pre Plus devices. Telmap Navigator will provide Palm users with real-time, relevant, and localized services. Highlights include real-time turn-by-turn navigation with 3D moving maps, real-time traffic alerts, and relevant points of interest. The Palm webOS edition follows similar launches on iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, BREW, Android, and Windows Mobile. The solution will be available first to webOS users in the O2 Germany network.

Telogis into Chile

Telogis signed a strategic partnership with Chilean GPS leaders Tastets Systems S.A. Tastets, which is based in Providencia Santiago, will distribute, implement, and support the Telogis Fleet location intelligence platform in Chile. Tastets works with more than 1,500 companies in Chile and abroad to provide fleet data via GPS technology. Both companies will also work together to service multi-national clients. The deal builds on Telogis’ recent growth with enterprise fleets throughout Central and South America, including in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. “Chile has a sophisticated and diverse enterprise fleet industry,” says Tarik Sarhan, director of sales and operations for South America, Telogis. “This partnership brings the depth of location-based intelligence provided by Telogis Fleet to Tastets’ customers in industries ranging from mining to utilities and construction.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.


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