In August Chrysler Group and Sprint announced a strategic partnership to integrate wireless technology into Chrysler’s Uconnect Access in-vehicle communication system, so Sprint and Chrysler’s announcement this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show – the launch of Sprint Velocity – should have been somewhat anticlimactic. But this week’s announcement transcended the Uconnect deal and positioned Sprint as a tier one player.
Sprint Velocity encompasses telematics, ecosystem development, consumer relationship marketing, and global network connectivity. Mike Bray, Sprint vice president and general manager-Connected Vehicle Program, said automakers can use Sprint Velocity as a complete turnkey solution or on a modular basis. “Automakers simply collaborate with Sprint on the specific features they desire for their vehicles and Sprint will handle the rest,” commented Wayne Ward, Sprint vice president-Emerging Solutions.
As noted, Chrysler helped Sprint develop Velocity and will integrate the technology into Chrysler’s Uconnect Access in-vehicle communication system, available in the redesigned 2013 Ram 1500 and the new SRT Viper supercar. Other Velocity development partners include Aeris Communications, Airbiquity Inc., and WirelessCar.
WirelessCar delivers the backend telematics components that integrate and aggregate content, services and applications with focus on embedded, vehicle-related features, including diagnostics, and remote services, such as door lock/unlock. The open architecture used by Sprint is tailored after the Next Generation Telematics Pattern (NGTP) in which WirelessCar is a co-founder.
“There is a fundamental shift in the connected vehicle space with consumers expecting more and more connected functionality that changes rapidly,” said Martin Rosell, managing director of WirelessCar. “Sprint, with its deep understanding of applications and customer relationships, is a natural and complementary fit to WirelessCar as a technology provider. The Sprint Velocity solution is a new way of thought leadership in the industry.”
The part about customer relationships is key. Marios Zenios, head of Uconnect Systems and Services, said key factors in Chrysler’s decision to choose Sprint included Sprint’s telematics platform, its relationships within the telematics and M2M (machine-to-machine) ecosystem, and its consumer market experience, “including a deep understanding of how customers experience and interact with wireless-based applications both in and out of the vehicle.”
What’s likely to happen next?