An impressive new GPS transceiver is on display at the O2 (Berkshire, UK) booth this week inside the M2M Zone, Hall 7. The unit boasts two never-before-seen features that have been predicted, but never successfully implemented until this model.
The selling point of this device, known as "Active Arrival," is real-time fuel price polling. With the push of a button, the navigation device receives up to the minute prices for gas stations in the surrounding area, the user's destination, or along the route. The information may then be further sorted by price, distance, or even brand. Say, for example, a user has a rewards credit card with incentives to purchase gas at Exxon-Mobile gas stations. With Active Arrival, that user may display all nearby Mobile stations, as well as all Mobile stations along his or her route, and the current prices at each one.
The device also features a Google Search function. Supplementing the unit's built in library of landmarks, users may also seamlessly connect to the Internet and search Google Maps for their destination. One more button press and the new destination is set, eliminating the drawbacks of limited or outdated internal memory storage.
Both the hardware and software of Active Arrival were created by O2 partner Baros GmbH (Hannover, Germany), who promises even more functionality in the future. For example, speed camera awareness. The next iteration of Active Arrival may automatically query a non-profit online speed camera database to alert drivers they may be entering a dangerous area. Such a service has already proven itself in a way, the device's fuel price polling is supported by a similar community called Clever-Tanken, German for "Smart Refuel."
Active arrival is currently on sale for 199 euro. Service is free for one year, then 39 euro per year afterward.
ITIS Holdings (Altrincham, UK) is also exhibiting inside M2M Zone this year, and is showing off its "Precision Traffic" functionality on the heels of a recently announced partnership with O2 Germany. According to the deal, O2 will supply ITIS with anonymous location information from 17 million wireless devices, which ITIS will use to generate traffic information from phones sitting in cars.
After a 14-month due diligence research trial, BMW will be the first customer for Precision Traffic, which will eventually be a pan-European offering in September 2011.
David Levine, International Business Development Director for Europe and North America at ITIS, says Precision Traffic is just that: precise. Far more so, he claims, to TomTom, their closest competitor, thanks to location data provided by the 17 million O2 devices (or roughly 20% of all the cellular phones in Germany). Mr. Levine cited Garmin as a potential future partner, but would not confirm any negotiation or deal.