In the next 5 years the number of commercial vehicles in Southeast Europe, equipped with telematics solutions, is predicted to grow by 20 per cent annually. Which is why the Telematics Conference South East Europe is a key event for companies in the telematics arena. The fifth edition of Telematics Conference SEEurope will be held on October 1st, 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria. More than one hundred key stakeholders from 15 SE European countries such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey will be participating.
Investments, mergers and acquisitions were the focus at the fourth Telematics Conference SEEurope, which was heldlast October in the Romanian capital, Bucharest and was attended by 100+ representatives of regional and global providers of telematics solutions, equipment manufacturers, M2M service providers, and other key stakeholders in the telematics sector.
The conference made it evident that vehicle telematics is still – or rather, is increasingly so – a hot industry, and therefore interesting for investors. “Mergers and acquisitions are like marriage: they require constant effort to make them successful in the long run,” explained Olaf Gietelink, the Director for Strategic Initiatives at TomTom Telematics, in his presentation. The main topic of the fifth edition of Telematics Conference SEEurope will be Smart fleets.
The event will launch also a brand new event Telematics Startup. This first time event will connect startups with already established and successful companies in telematics industry and investors. Selected startups will have 5 minute pitches, in order to convince the audience that their product/services are highly needed in the industry. All startup companies (up to 3 years on the market) are working in the area of telematics for fleet management and commercial vehicles, vehicle tracking, fuel, route and fieldwork optimization, connected vehicles, transport, logistics, embedded solutions, maps and navigations, smart sensors, M2M solutions, IoT, smart cities, LBS, connected cars, and big data in transport. The next Telematics Startup will be organized in March 2016 in Dubai as a part of the 2nd Telematics Conference Middle East & Africa.
Automotive Industries spoke to Alenka Bezjak Mlakar, Director, Telematics Conference SEEurope.
AI: What kind of reaction has Telematics Conference SEEurope evinced in the past four editions?
Alenka: The Telematics Conference SEEurope is organized annually in a different country in SE Europe. When we started in Belgrade (Serbia) in 2011, we couldn’t even imagine we will have a significant growth every year. The market has grown, telematics solutions and providers developed, and the Telematics Conference has become the leading telematics event in the region. Our participants, especially our speakers, sponsors and exhibitors were satisfied with our personal attitude, tailor made solutions and many networking possibilities also before and after the event.
AI: What makes SE Europe different from the West in terms of the telematics market?
Alenka: Southeast Europe telematics market is not mature yet as is in Western and Northern Europe or US. The market penetration is lower and the solutions are less advanced, also the prices are lower here. The market is very fragmented, especially because of national borders (many countries are not a part of the EU) and different legal regulations. But the market is changing rapidly here as well. Big global telematics companies are looking to enter these markets, many mergers and acquisitions will happen in the next few years. Many telematics solution providers are developing more advanced solutions in different market segments like transport, logistics, and distribution. And what is really important, there are various regional telematics companies that are becoming remarkable players also outside the Southeast Europe region.
AI: How has the market grown since you launched the SE European edition?
Alenka: According to our market research Commercial Vehicles in Southeast Europe: Telematics Solutions and Perspectives we published in 2014, there were 800,000 equipped commercial vehicles in Southeast Europe in 2013, which means that 8.2% of commercial vehicles in the region have already implemented telematics systems. The number of equipped commercial vehicles in Southeast Europe is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% from 1 million in 2014 to 2.44 million in 2018. In the same period, Turkey is expected to have the highest growth in absolute numbers of equipped vehicles in the region, since it is the country with the largest fleet of commercial vehicles and also one of the fastest growing markets of commercial vehicles in the region. The market penetration rate will grow from 9.9% in 2014 to 21.5% in 2018. Slovenia is currently the market with the largest share of equipped vehicles in 2013 (more than 30%). Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary are estimated to have a market penetration rate of 15 to 20%, whereas Greece, Romania, and Turkey are estimated to have a market penetration rate of up to 10%. In Turkey, the largest market in the region, the market penetration rate is estimated to have been 8% in 2013.
There are various reasons for local differences. Greece, Turkey, and Romania have the largest fleets of commercial vehicles, which makes it harder to achieve a higher market penetration rate in those countries than for example in Slovenia, Macedonia or Montenegro. Differences in the development of technology and telematics sectors are also part of the reason that Slovenia and Hungary have the highest market penetration. Finally, membership in the European Union simplifies business processes and cooperation with other member countries and enables global players to enter these markets with fewer obstacles.
AI: What kind of participation are you expecting at the fifth edition of Telematics Conference in October 2015?
Alenka: The market in the region was changing very fast in the last 5 years. Many small companies run out of business, because their only competitive advantage was the lower price. Now, companies are not competing with their prices mostly, but with their products and services. According to these market trends, also our participants have changed from the first edition. In October, we are expecting key global and regional telematics solution providers to come to Bulgaria, as well as many local players focused more on Bulgarian market alone. At the same time, the conference will host many equipment and device manufacturers, digital maps developers and IT companies. Although the event is primarily organized for TSPs and their growth, there are always some transport and logistics companies attending as well, mostly those companies interested in the latest telematics trends for commercial vehicles, enabling the industry to have smarter fleets and optimized business.
AI: Who are some of the big names in terms of companies and speakers that will be participating at the Telematics Conference SEEurope 2015?
Alenka: I kindly invite all interested companies to visit our updated conference agenda online at: www.telematics-conference.com/seeurope, where our speakers will be presented, together with conference media partners, 14 exhibitors, and participating young companies at the first Telematics Startup event.