Deutsche Telekom targets US connected-cars market

Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with US telemetry specialist Un-Blinking Technologies on the launch of what they call a “vendor-independent” solution for vehicles in the US market.

The solution is based on the iCar M2M technology developed by Un-Blinking Technologies (Eagle, ID, USA), allowing car dealerships to offer value-added services that are not tethered to the proprietary technology of individual vehicle makers.

The service benefits dealers by allowing them to maintain relationships with customers on an ongoing basis, providing services like automated reminders of the need for an oil change.

Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) is to provide telemetry hardware for the vehicles as well as SIM cards and data connections, while Un-Blinking Technologies supplies Android and iPhone apps as well as a web portal that gives customers access to vehicle-related data.

The companies say that Barrier Motors – an automotive group based in Bellevue in the Seattle area – has already equipped 1,500 cards from its Mercedes-Benz (Stuttgart, Germany), Audi (Ingolstadt, Germany), Porsche (Stuttgart, Germany) and Volvo (Gothenburg, Sweden) brands with the iCar package.

They now have plans 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,” says Thomas Kiessling, Deutsche Telekom’s chief product and innovation officer. “They can now generate additional revenue streams and offer their customers new value-added services.”

Deutsche Telekom has been extremely active in the M2M automotive sector – forming deals with German carmakers BMW (Munich, Germany) and Daimler (Stuttgart, Germany), besides car-rentals company Sixt (Pullach, Germany) – and believes that applications like predictive maintenance, entertainment services and remote monitoring will spur growth in this market in 2014.

Although the deal between Deutsche Telekom and Un-Blinking Technologies is currently focused on the US market, Robert Smith – the co-founder of Un-Blinking Technologies and parent company SkyTrace – says the partnership will ultimately allow the technology to be scaled “around the globe”.