Highlights of Telematics Industry Conference

Telematics Detroit 2010 is a conference mainly for automakers and their suppliers. Many of the conference speakers emphasized that the Telematics Industry as a whole has changes dramatically in recent years. The Telematics Industry for consumer vehicles is expected to change even more as smartphones apps invade the telematics space, providing drivers with the type of information and features — entertainment, GPS navigation, and traffic data — that they now regularly access on their mobile phones.

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Here are a few highlights from various panel discussions:

Green Driving: With telematics systems collecting so much data from cars, the technology is perfect for helping people learn to drive more efficiently. For example, Continental’s AutoLinQ will have an Eco-Dash feature, that can display a variety of fuel-economy information, and eventually users could be able to download data online and compare it to other drivers.

Customer Service: Most telematics systems have maintenance reminders and some type of dealer-contact features. With the recent focus on recalls, both car companies and car owners could benefit from having vehicles capture data on critical components and perhaps catch problems before they become severe enough to cause an accident.

Smartphone Apps: Apps have already become an important and useful aspect of telematics services.  Smartphone apps can take features that were only available on a computer a few years ago and make them available anywhere and at anytime. The keynote speaker of the telematics conference pointed out that the possibilities of what can be accomplished with automotive apps is only limited by the imagination of developers.

Entertainment: In-car entertainment has grown tremendously in recent years. Internet radio and digital delivery of music was a very hot topic at the telematics conference. Several companies talked about how, with a high-speed 4G connection in the vehicle, it could soon be possible to quickly download music files on the fly from online music stores like iTunes or even stream movies from Netflix and videos from YouTube to a rear-seat entertainment system.