US operator Verizon has recently made a series of major announcements about its efforts in telematics, with a focus on connected cars.
One of these announcements concerned its acquisition of Hughes Telematics, which indicates a strong and growing interest in the connected car market.
Telcos such as Verizon, car manufacturers, M2M platform providers, device manufacturers, wireless operators, and various applications and infotainment service providers have all been chasing this market for a long time.
Automobile manufacturers lead many of the current deployments, and promote specific applications such as safety and customer service. The role of wireless operators, however, has been limited: they have a very hard time managing the complexity, detail, and flexibility required for connected car applications. As with many M2M applications, there are many different business models, and much fragmentation in the various solutions.
Although Verizon has stepped up its game in telematics, it is clear that there will be two primary mobile connections in the car: one from the manufacturer, and one from the end user. Operators will need to address these connections with different business models.
Car makers will need a connection for specific applications
During the past year, auto manufacturers, especially luxury manufacturers, have been promoting broader deployment of connected car programs. These programs have increased the demand for global coverage and centralized platforms to support global availability. Many of the basic features and services require lower bandwidth, but increase safety, improve customer service, meet regulatory requirements, or support maintenance programs for the car itself.