Observer: How to survive telematics

Jan. 1, 2020
CHICAGO — Most everyone's heard the term telematics, but what's more important is how the industry harnesses this technology.
CHICAGO — Most everyone's heard the term telematics, but what's more important is how the industry harnesses this technology.

The key to survival will be in independent repairers performing the remote diagnostics seen on such systems as GM's OnStar and bringing the cars into their bays with this data.

"Telematics has to connect the value to the vehicle," says Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), who addressed the topic last month during the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) in Chicago.

AAIA is in the process of completing a comprehensive telematics report, the results of which will be revealed at the Aftermarket eForum in July.

Telematics is basically a means for a vehicle to engage in two-way communications — whether it's with an outside computer or with one another, and includes everything from vehicle navigation and safety devices to in-vehicle entertainment and remote diagnostics.

While OEMs tend to tie telematics systems with subscription services, an opportunity for the aftermarket could be the "pay as you go" model, among other innovations in this segment.

Schmatz says the aftermarket expects pushback on this subscription-based system, opening the doors for more versatile business models.

Yet another aftermarket benefit to telematics is the advantage of its speed to market when compared to carmakers. "We can move an idea to cash flow faster than an OE can," she says.

Another benefit can be tied to insurance rates, because when you drive fewer miles, your premium can be adjusted accordingly.

And, hopefully, because ultimately the driver owns a vehicle's data, the future of telematics could lead to an "open source" approach to this information, says Schmatz.

And the future of telematics could be in your pocket as you read this. motorage.search-autoparts.com/motorage/Business+%26+Management+Solutions/Lifeguards-zipping-through-the-sand-in-special-bea/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/518261

"We see the humble cell phone taking on the role as transmitter of data," she adds. — Chris Miller

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