Issue: May 2010


Automotive Industries spoke to Rebecca Mantle, Global Conference Director, Telematics Update



by Steve Barclay

The 10th annual Telematics Detroit show will be held this June 8th and 9th at the Rock Financial Showplace in Detroit, Michigan. Over six hundred executives are already confirmed to attend the show. The show’s organizers, Telematics Update, say that expert strategies will be shared by leading executives from Ford Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo Technology, BMW, Nokia, Yahoo!, Microsoft, General Motors, Audi, General Electric, Better Place, DTE Energy, the Department of Transportation, Google and more. With over 90 expert telematics speakers confirmed, the 10th annual Telematics Detroit is tipped to surpass all previous records. 

The day before the show, every year Telematics Awards are given in recognition to key companies that drive the industry forward to push the boundaries of technology and service delivery. An independent panel of experts from the digital, automotive, mobile and web industries will select the finalists and the winners will be announced on the night of June 7.

“This is a crucial year for the industry as the recovery process has already begun, and, telematics players, now more than ever, need to come together to strategize for the next decade of telematics service provision. The response has been terrific and Telematics Update would like to each and every company that put itself forward as each and every entry made the competition even more intense. This year's winners will be celebrated as true leaders in a year that epitomizes the strength of the telematics industry, as the industry will continue to pull together in order to innovate and maintain progression and momentum”

--- Precksha Saksena, Managing Director, Telematics Update ---Telematics Detroit always attracts the leading lights of the telematics industry as speakers. Some of this year’s key speakers include Doug Van Dagens, Director of Connected Services at Ford Motor Company, who will be giving an interactive update of Ford’s activities and increasing market penetration strategies and Johann Jungwirth, President and CEO of Mercedes Benz R&D (North America) who will reveal new methods to leverage smart phones in-vehicle and discuss Daimler’s new Smart Drive kit.

Then there’s Jens Redmer, Director of Business Development at Google who’s giving a presentation entitled ‘Scope-out a New Telematics Power House and its Industry Design’ and Jan Hellaker, Head of Government Programs at Volvo and Greg Krueger of Michigan DOT who’ll cover IntelliDrive and developing infrastructures…and let’s not forget the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) super session covered by Sascha Simon, Head of Advanced Product Planning at Mercedes Benz as well as experts from GM, UMICH, Delphi, TomTom and NAVTEQ.

With over 90 speakers and 4 focused conference tracks, Telematics Detroit 2010 will as usual, raise issues critical to the vehicle telematics industry.

Automotive Industries spoke to Rebecca Mantle, Global Conference Director, Telematics Update.

AI: What will be the theme of this year’s Telematics Detroit event?

In a nutshell, the theme is forward thinking and robust strategies to grasp the new services and cross-industry partnerships set to dominate the next decade of telematics. We’re really spoilt for choice this year as there’s so much movement and innovation currently occurring in the industry - all of the topics within the show are in high demand!

As the industry focuses on recovery, progression and safe guarding its future, we’re noticing real change in priorities, business models and market offerings. It is suffice to say that this is an incredibly exciting era for the automotive, mobile, wireless and web industries, and I am very much looking forward to Telematics Detroit 2010.

AI: What are some of the new features that will be added at this year’s show in view of the fact that it is the 10th anniversary of Telematics Detroit?

While it is important to recognize what the industry has achieved and how far it has progressed over the last ten years, our main focus is on the new decade and establishing a foundation of strong and lucrative strategies to ensure that telematics continues to increase levels of in-vehicle penetration and positive impact on the lifestyle of connected consumers.

New elements in the 2010 event include increased focus on insurance telematics and auto- finance, as well as a huge amount of intelligence on the emerging areas of Electric Vehicles and Smart Grid.

In fact this year we have a whole new track entitled New Telematics Services and Auxiliary Markets which is dedicated to these new focus areas and ascertaining how telematics will converge opportunistically with these developments.

We also have dedicated more time in the program than ever before to the growing role of consumer Electronics and the mobile device in the delivery and penetration of in-car telematics.

To celebrate our 10th annual Telematics Detroit we have our most diverse program to date with 4 tracks, in addition to the previously mentioned New Services area, the show will focus on Navigation & Location based Services, Infotainment & Consumer Electronics and Advanced Communication Technologies and Commercial Vehicle Telematics.

We also have exclusive iSuppli, Microsoft, DOT and Mobile Devices workshops as well as the biggest exhibition ever with over 100 booths – it should be a great line-up all in all.

AI: What kind of participation do you expect this year as compared to last year?

We have already well exceeded last year’s number of attendees with over 650 confirmed participants – and expect many more registrations in the coming weeks.

As we all well know, 2008-09 was a difficult and tumultuous period for the industry. However due to its ability to deliver industry relevant and independent business intelligence, Telematics Detroit retained its role as the premier industry forum and unparalleled networking opportunity - even through hard times.

We fully expect our 2010 event to be the biggest and most business critical of the last ten years.

AI: How have vehicle telematics changed over the past year and what are some of the future trends?

We have seen the evolution of telematics over the years from simply a safety and security device to a set of enabling technologies that can define and shape a users in-car experience.

Although the industry is some what fragmented and progress is staggered we are seeing ever increasing attempts to understand the end-user and consumer lifestyle, and leverage new conduits such as the smartphone or cloud computing, to capitalize on market trends and deliver compelling market offerings.

It is all about uncovering the consumer perspective in order to provide the solutions and services demanded by ‘always-on’ consumers - and then by default being well positioned to encourage and aid end-users to change habits and see value in insurance telematics and electric / hybrid vehicles etc.

AI: What role does Telematics Detroit play in keeping the industry abreast of the constantly changing face of vehicle telematics?

We pride ourselves in our independent research and ability to deliver content and intelligence that reflects industry dynamics. Over the last ten years we have moved hand in hand with the industry and provided valuable insight on the opportunities and challenges facing execs and companies in this space. In fact many in the industry see Telematics Update as the ‘go-to’ people in the space, which is a reputation I believe we have grown to increasingly affirm over the last ten years.

Whether via our online e-newsletter, flagship industry forums in Europe, the US and Japan, or our niche Fleet and Asset Management, Insurance Telematics, Consumer Telematics and In-Vehicle & Mobile Content Conferences we aim to generate a community and bring the right minds and expertise together to discuss critical topics and drive real industry change.

Over the last decade Telematics Detroit has been the setting of real industry change and facilitated partnerships, mergers, strategy overhaul and set the horizon for the industry. The proof is in the pudding, so many of our delegates attend year on year; Detroit is a landmark on many business calendars!

Just recently Johann Jungwirth, CEO & President of Mercedes-Benz R&D NA referred to his keynote speaking opportunity as "an outstanding opportunity to shape the future of Infotainment & Telematics!" It is the support and recognition of key OEMs and industry stake holders that has cemented Telematics Detroit as an industry institution and a level of recommendation that speaks volumes!

AI: What do you think are some of the new areas in which vehicle telematics will play a role in automobiles of the future?

I think the sky is the limit on this one… the potential is in the eye of the beholder, and the innovation of today may prove to become the staple market offering of tomorrow.

Personally, my eyes and interests are firmly on the infotainment and in-vehicle and mobile content space. The vehicle no longer represents an isolated environment, and our time spent in-vehicle has increasingly potential to be connected and in-sync with all other aspects of our lifestyle – be it work, media etc…

I think if on a mass market scale, we can empower the vehicle to bridge the connection between the home, the work place and our location relevant activities to achieve seamless connectivity and mobile functionality – then the car will secure its place as integral to the connected lifestyle.

Let’s just say I am watching this space with avid fascination, and invite all those in the industry who have an opinion or expertise to share in this area to get in touch. J

I look forward to seeing everyone at Telematics Detroit next month!

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