“Connected services” are becoming the next buzzword for fleets. Where do connected services come from? Traditionally, they come from the established but still growing fleet telematics market.
More recently, third-party connected car platforms have emerged. These platforms do not use installed modems, but pull data directly from OEM modems, whose penetration has rapidly increased to 80% of all new vehicles today. The data is transferred to the cloud, where it is normalized for fleets to use in similar applications.
In addition, car manufacturers are returning to the game with new service offers for fleets that will compete with both traditional telematics service providers (TSPs) and connected car data platforms.
A bit of history on connected services
Automakers first launched telematics systems with partners more than a decade ago. You may remember Ford team leader (powered by Telogis, a third-party TSP), and of course General Motors’ OnStar has been the platform for numerous connectivity initiatives For more than 20 years. Ram jumped into that stream later with Ram Telematicspowered by Verizon Connect.
These early systems competed in a mature TSP market and they were not as sophisticated as the TSPs offered themselves. Yes, the OEM systems came from the factory which saved the installation of the aftermarket modem, but those systems didn’t fit into other automakers’ vehicles – or at least they did. very difficult. What changed ?
First and foremost, new automakers’ systems pull richer data directly from their own OEM-integrated modems. And they can more easily connect to other car manufacturers’ makes and models with plug-n-play dongles. This makes life much easier for the vast majority of fleets that operate multiple brands of vehicles.
Beyond vehicle tracking, new OEM systems offer double or triple the number of functions, such as real-time vehicle diagnostics, in-cab driver coaching, and Alexa and Google Home voice commands, to to name just a few. They also connect to EV functions, and we’ll get to that in a moment.
Automakers understand that vehicles are becoming digital platforms – Elon Musk showed us that. It’s a logical extension for automakers to leverage their own vehicle data and claim their share of recurring revenue from new services.
Of course, these developments are not happening in a vacuum.
Not a vacuum cleaner
Over the past 10 years, the percentage of telematics units installed in fleets has increased exponentially, these TSPs have also upped their game in terms of functionality and sophistication. TSPs continue to expand their agreements with many OEMs to install their modems at the factory, although most installations still occur in the aftermarket. While telematics penetration is greater with larger fleets, plug-and-play systems are available for smaller fleets.
TSPs have also created their own marketplaces for connected digital services. Fleets can access a one-stop-shop through their telematics systems for new services such as video telematics, driver training, dispatch software and predictive maintenance.
Meanwhile, connected car platforms such as Motorq, Wejo, Otonomo and Smartcar each approach the market slightly differently, but because they use OEM modems they can avoid a complete system and offer specific services targeted to a fleet’s needs.
With all this competition, how can automakers claim a new advantage?
edge of electrification
The electrification revolution could be one of them. For fleets, leveraging data is key to electrifying the right way. Automakers are in pole position to extract all of this rich new battery and performance data from their electric vehicles, such as battery state of charge, optimal vehicle charging times, and measurement of vehicle operational performance. electric vehicles in a variety of scenarios.
In addition, car manufacturers are provision of services for electrification beyond vehicles. They facilitate business connections with charging infrastructure, software systems, utilities and EV advisory services. They can also offer digital keys without hardware hacks that third parties have to deal with.
So when it comes to electrification, fleet-conscious automakers are looking to develop the complete package – the vehicle, connected services and infrastructure planning.
Automakers are trying to create an Easy Button for fleets. Will it work?
An easy button for fleets?
Let’s look at the competitive market: telematics systems and connected platforms also have applications for extracting data from electric vehicles. And they’re all working toward a day when the aftermarket installed modem is a thing of the past.
Here are my questions: Automakers can extract richer data from their vehicles than third parties. How will this benefit fleets in ways that TSPs and connected car platforms cannot provide? Can automakers really convince a fleet to drop their contract with an established TSP? Will their plug-and-play dongles for other makes and models extract the correct data to use in their systems?
The answer may not be all or nothing. Fleets can keep their telematics systems. And when they start buying electric vehicles, they will take advantage of these new connected services from automakers. The question then becomes, how will these systems fit into a single dashboard for fleets?
Sure, there’s an API for that, but it often works better in theory than it does. Perhaps more importantly, what is the monthly cost threshold for fleets as they consider these new services in addition to their telematics subscriptions?
This is an evolving landscape, so there are no easy answers. But we know that in this new highly competitive market, with many more new services, fleets have more choice, and that’s good for everyone.
Originally posted on Fleet Front