The big news at Telematics Update Detroit, if it were being held this week, might have been Apple’s aside that nine automakers plan to implement Siri in their vehicles within a year. Instead, since the conference was last week, the big news was Verizon’s acquisition of Hughes Telematics.
Little has been said publicly about Apple’s Siri and “eyes free” telematics but we should hear more relatively soon from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, or Toyota, if not all of them, as well as from Apple. It makes sense, since we hear so much about consumers wanting to use their personal electronic devices in their cars.
Little was also said about Verizon’s agreement to acquire Hughes, the developer of Mercedes’ mbrace telematics system, for approximately $612 million. The firms said the deal will expand Verizon’s capabilities in automotive and fleet telematics, but also in healthcare, home automation, and other markets with potential for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
Verizon said Hughes will play a key role in Verizon’s plan to offer platform-based solutions tailored to specific industries. Verizon recently launched a new practice focused on developing telematics solutions that leverage the company’s cloud and information technology, security, global IP network and communications, and mobility and M2M technology platforms.
Most automakers offer a telematics platform or have one in development, but plenty of opportunities remain for the dozens of vendors exhibiting at or attending Telematics Update. Applications and systems will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.
Conference sponsors announced telematics industry award winners on the eve of the event’s opening. OnStar’s FMV was chosen as the best aftermarket device or solution, Airbiquity took the award for best automotive application, and the best navigation solution or product award went to Telenav Inc.
Tunein Radio was honored as the best telematics content aggregator, Mobileye and OnStar shared the best telematics safety & security award, and Networkfleet was selected as the best telematics service or solution for commercial vehicles.
Hughes Telematics was selected as the best telematics service provider, Audi of America won the global OEM infotainment solution award, and UIEvolution was named the industry newcomer for 2011-2012.