AT&T wins connected-cars deal with Volvo

US telecoms giant AT&T continues to set the pace in the connected-cars industry, having just announced a deal with Volvo to provide wireless connectivity services in vehicles sold in the US and Canadian markets.

The multi-year agreement will see AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) equip Volvo’s (Gothenburg, Sweden) US 2015 model year with its Sensus Connect embedded infotainment service, while Volvo customers in the US and Canada will also have access to Volvo On Call – which allows car functions to be accessed remotely and also notifies emergency services in the event of a crash.

M2M Spectrum Networks to build first US dedicated IoT network

A recently formed company calling itself M2M Spectrum Networks has unveiled plans to build and operate what it says will be the first licensed dedicated M2M network across the US.

Founded last year by entrepreneurs Barclay Knapp and Carole Downs, M2M Spectrum Networks (Phoenix, AZ, USA) says the rollout of its network will occur in “multiple phases”, with trials scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the year.

However, Knapp and Downs expect the network to cover 75% of the US population by the end of 2015 and 95% by the end of 2016.

Telit launches automotive business following NXP deal

Telit has launched a new automotive business unit following its takeover of a platform business from Dutch company NXP Semiconductors.

The UK-headquartered hardware player says it has now completed the acquisition of NXP’s (Eindhoven, Netherlands) automotive telematics on-board unit platform (ATOP) business, which develops technology allowing vehicle makers to implement eCall or similar functionality in a straightforward and cost-efficient way.

Kore provides M2M platform to Singapore's StarHub

Kore Systems says it has begun providing an M2M service management platform to Singaporean telecom operator StarHub, which plans to launch a number of fleet and asset management services based on the tie-up.

The operator has been ramping up activities in the M2M area and sees the Kore platform as a vital component of its offerings to a number of vertical markets.

Ride service Uber dials into courier business

Reuters

App-based ride company Uber will start delivering on its promise of expanding its business into logistics on Tuesday when it launches a trial courier service, Uber Rush, in Manhattan.

"Better, faster, cheaper," is how Uber's (San Francisco, CA, USA) general manager in New York, Josh Mohrer, described the service in a tweet to Reuters. Customers will be able to watch the progress of their packages in its transportation application, much as they can track the progress of the cars they order up on the service.

Telefonica becomes Tesla's major European connectivity partner

Spain’s Telefonica has won a major connected-cars deal to provide services for electric vehicles being sold by Tesla in Europe.

The partnership will see the operator provide connectivity services for the Tesla Model S in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

To support the service, Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) is also drawing on its partnerships with other operators and M2M platform provider Jasper Wireless (Mountain View, CA, USA) through the M2M World Alliance, an association formed to spur the development of M2M services worldwide.

PSA Peugeot Citroen, Orange to launch fleet-management service

Carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has said it will launch a new fleet-management service this month in partnership with French operator Orange Business Services.

The service is to cover the manufacturer’s entire vehicle line-up and is designed to help fleet owners “reduce vehicle total cost of ownership”, said the companies in a statement.

BMW tops new connected-cars ranking: Machina Research

Germany’s BMW has come first in a new ranking of carmakers that measures their approach to connectivity, with GM, Ford, Audi and Chrysler rounding out the top five.

According to analyst firm Machina Research, BMW (Munich, Germany) has the most “complete” approach to in-car connectivity through its ConnectedDrive service, while GM (Detroit, MI, USA) – which comes second in the ranking – has been “something of a trailblazer with OnStar”.

TomTom Business Solutions becomes TomTom Telematics

Navigation technology player TomTom has changed the name of its Business Solutions unit to TomTom Telematics.

The name change has been made to reflect the strong position the company enjoys in the telematics market thanks to its WEBFLEET product, a software-as-a-service platform designed to help fleet businesses improve vehicle performance, save fuel, support drivers and increase efficiency.

In a statement, TomTom (Amsterdam, Netherlands) said WEBFLEET would henceforth be positioned as its leading product brand for the fleet-management market.

Apps in car dashboards aim to make vehicles smarter

Reuters

Searching for that elusive parking spot or a nearby attraction? Forget about consulting your smartphone, just look at the car dashboard.

Whether it is streaming music and listening to audio books, or even ordering a pizza, apps are being loaded into vehicle dashboards as more cars become connected to the Internet.

Only about 10 percent of vehicles have built-in connectivity today, but the number is expected to rise to more than 90 percent by 2020, according to the British consulting firm Machina Research.

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