Deutsche Telekom and telematics provider Un-Blinking Technologies (a division of SkyTrace Inc.) have launched a vendor-independent machine-to-machine (M2M) solution for vehicles in the USA based on iCar. This telemetry solution creates an intelligent car with functionality tailored to the needs of both car dealers and their customers.
The solution enables car dealerships to offer value-added services to purchasers of any vehicle – un-tethered to the proprietary technology of individual vehicle manufacturers. This allows dealers to maintain an active relationship with their clients on an on-going basis – offering tangible customer benefits from automated reminders for the next oil change, to remote diagnostic information, and a wealth of other location-based services.
Deutsche Telekom provides both the telemetry hardware for the vehicles as well as the SIM-cards and data connections. Un-Blinking Technologies supplies Android and iPhone apps, along with a Web portal to give customers access to their vehicle-provided data.
Progressive Seattle area automotive group Barrier Motors in Bellevue has already equipped 1,500 cars from their Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, and Volvo brands with the iCar Intelligent Car Technology Package. After the successful completion of this initial launch Deutsche Telekom and Un-Blinking plan to introduce the product to 300 additional car dealerships across the US.
“To date, car dealers have been unable to offer a connected car solution directly to customers,” said Thomas Kiessling, chief product and innovation officer, Deutsche Telekom. “They can now generate additional revenue streams and offer their customers new value-added services. The supply of M2M solutions directly to car buyers will be game-changing for the whole industry.”
For Deutsche Telekom, the cooperation with car dealers is part of an expanding M2M portfolio for connected cars. With huge potential for new services and revenue streams, the connected car concept has been a strategic core business segment at Deutsche Telekom for several years.
“We are proud to work with an internationally recognised industry leader like Deutsche Telekom. They give us the capability to scale this innovative solution around the globe,” said Robert Smith, co-founder of both parent company SkyTrace and its Un-Blinking Technologies division.
For car owners, the iCar M2M solution offers previously unavailable control over their vehicles. By using either a mobile app or a Web portal, owners can monitor a wealth of information including consumption data and the location of their cars at all times. In addition, an Eco-Drive feature evaluates driving behaviour and provides measurable data to help be more fuel-efficient.
By means of its geo-fencing function, iCar allows customers to create customized “electronic boundaries” which trigger automatic notifications if their vehicle moves either into or out of these designated areas.
This is a useful feature when valet parking, for example, as it ensures that the valet doesn’t go for a secret joyride after being handed the keys. The solution also gives owners peace-of-mind with a roadside assistance feature and advanced notice of approaching necessary maintenance work.
A further benefit is the tracking functionality which leads to higher recovery rates in case of theft, resulting in reduced insurance tariffs for the customer.