Monday May 23, 2005

Telematics Update, Detroit

Sorry for my week long hiatus,

Last week I attended a telematics conference in Detroit MI (Telematics Update). One of the things that I realized, once there, is that telematics, something that I have been working on since 2000, still hasn't reached the status of mainstream, in fact, far from it. Furthest along is Onstar, but even they haven't been able to do something that I think is critical: to develop a community of value around a technology platform.

It seems to me that in everyone's attempt to “own” the customer - and by doing so, justify the expense of the infotronics gateway for telematics delivery through directed revenue, that people have kind of ignored the business models of very successful companies like DoCoMo, where a bet was made that the platform would take off when a suitably rich community existed.

I talked briefly with Scott McCormick, President of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association and he agrees that we need a cross-industry community, that he is trying to form. But, to me at least, it seems a chicken-or-egg situation persuant to this community. One of the big problems is obviously that the auto makers want to enforce both a standard look and feel, and in doing so ensure compliance with “distracted driver” rules - who can blame them, but also they are concerned that they could shoulder the $100-$300/car burden for the inter-vehicular gateway and not be able to properly capitalize on their investment. Gee, this is starting to sound a good bit like the challenges that we had with the J2ME handset profiles ;)

Anyways, after reading Ron Goldman and Richard Gabriel's excellent book, Innovation Happens Elsewhere, which i HIGHLY recommend, it became fantastically clear - to me, at least. The automotive community must establish a community effort to standardize an appropriate interface for the developers to be able to build against, in a suitable community, Logo Jcpor risk having a consumer platform become the defacto candidate wresting all control from this community (auto-TiVO(sm) anyone?)

Anyways, I'm pretty passionate about telematics because I think that this is one remaining untapped market that can drive business productivity, drives mobility interfaces (identity and contexts), and lastly could serve to improve my life balance...

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dhushon

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