Telematics is quickly becoming a major vertical in the machine-to-machine (M2M) marketplace, but according to Cyril Zeller, senior sales director of the global telematics segment at Telit , telematics is growing but it is nowhere compared to where it should be.
There are numerous well-known projects and collaborations going on in the telematics sector, but these projects have yet to see large-scale deployments.
Zeller’s statement can also be backed up by the large number of laws being implemented in countries across the globe. Compared with other M2M verticals that are usually hindered by legislation, telematics is being driven by government projects and legislation.
eCall  in Europe is one example of a government project that is helping further telematics. The European Union’s goal is to have every vehicle equip with the eCall system by 2015. There is also Contran 245 in Brazil, which is legislation requiring all new vehicles produced in, or imported to, Brazil be equip with GPRS modules to reduce vehicle theft. In South Africa this is already an industry standard – without anti-theft telematics boxes cars cannot be insured.
In the U.S., although not a current law, many insurance companies are beginning to implement usage-based insurance to lower insurance prices for customers, as well as promote safe driving. In Italy the benefits of usage-based insurances are already leading to a new law which is at the moment under parliament approval.
Even with many projects and legislations popping up around the globe, there have been some obvious problems implementing them in a timely fashion. Contran 245 in Brazil have been delayed over six times, while eCall has been slower to implement than first expected.
Zeller believes there are a few alternatives to the implementation problems: use the cheapest technology solution to fill the requirement, or put real connectivity into the vehicle.
The latter option is the best option for network operators, and one that will help the telematics market grow, believes Zeller.
“Nobody wants to pay for a SIM that may never be used,” says Zeller. He points out that if the SIM is always connected in some way instead of just being used in the event of an emergency, carriers will see the benefit and be more likely to be onboard.
“If one major car manufacturer takes that path it will have a major impact,” says Zeller.
Still, in most places today Zeller believes telematics is a largely fragmented market that presents huge challenges. It will be interesting to see how the existing legislations effect the telematics market in the near future.