|Briefly, what does your department/company do?
The Agero Innovation Team is responsible for identifying and developing technologies and innovative solutions that provide our automotive OEM clients with tools or services that provide quantum leaps in overall performance to greatly enhance their business. We foster innovation through well-coordinated cross-functional teams within our business as well as a far-reaching consortium of outside development and research partners.
What is your role in the Telematics market?
Agero plays several roles but most notably we deliver -- primarily to automotive and auto insurance clients -- services and solutions that address their customers’ needs for convenience, information, safety, emergency assistance, and quick, efficient processing of insurance claims. Our performance is designed to build customer satisfaction and loyalty to the OEM brand. As a provider of private-labeled services, we become an extension of our clients’ brand experience. To perform these tasks well, we have to excel in several core areas: system integration, content integration, customer relationship management, and the development of simple, easy-to-use interfaces with consumers, whether it’s through an in-vehicle infotainment or speech recognition system, Web portal, or handset app that we’ve developed or through one of our six voice/data response centers in North America.
What was the most challenging part of 2012/2013 for your company and how was it overcome?
At the outset of the year, we saw the emerging need in the industry for a stable, flexible, and cross-platform ecosystem that could enable the aggregation of mobile applications and other content and properly deliver that rich content with the unique demands of the in-vehicle environment in mind. We needed to provide OEMs the flexibility, over the lifetime of the vehicle, to add, delete, and change in-vehicle content and services in the vehicle more quickly and efficiently than the current methodologies in the marketplace. In addition, the ability to change, adjust, and customize the user interfaces within the vehicle to meet changing demands was also paramount.
To accelerate a solution, we formed a couple of strategic alliances with European partners who already had proven platforms to meet this need in the mobile space. As a result, we were able to very quickly re-purpose a market-tested mobile app platform for the automotive space and just as quickly develop a cross-platform browser path that optimizes current web technologies to meet higher levels of automotive-grade performance. So, in essence, we’ve built the bridge from Agero’s cloud content to an in-vehicle display without the customary constraints of in-vehicle hardware capability over the lifetime of the vehicle. The maturity of this platform has become a critical factor in enabling us to demonstrate viable use cases that also incorporate critical in-vehicle technologies such as natural language vocabularies and interfaces specifically designed to meet best-practices guidelines in mitigating the risk of driver distraction.
What challenges do you think the telematics industry still faces?
Standardization across the technical value chain continues to be elusive.
Another challenge we face is the ability of the mobile networks to meet the escalating need for data, from the perspective of both cost and capacity, to support everything the industry envisions of the connected vehicle in the future.
What key topics or issues are you looking at discussing with the industry at CTS 2013 and why are they important for moving the industry forward?
The message I am bringing to CTS is to provide a vision of how the industry can more efficiently and flexibly deliver rich content and services to the vehicle, with the end-game being that the applications provided in the vehicle never grow stale for the life of the vehicle. Consider a world where the content and user interfaces found in OEM vehicles are effectively changed as easily and as often as the OEM websites are changed. That’s the type of world that consumers will demand, and that is what we will deliver – relevant content and up-to-date/personalized user interfaces for the life of the vehicle. Of course, with all that flexibility must come the proper discipline and capability to absolutely provide the safest interfaces such that driver distraction issues are met head-on. In fact, because the industry is constantly learning about what appropriate interfaces in a vehicular situation are, we argue that the ability to flexibly modify user interfaces in the name of safety for the life of the vehicle is absolutely critical to the industry.
What developments/trends do you see impacting the industry over the next 2-5 years?
Six major trends come to mind:
- Delivery of content in the vehicle and the growing importance of customized, personalized and flexible interfaces designed to deliver that data.
- Convergence of telematics and usage-based insurance.
- The emergence and proliferation of more powerful computer processors and web technologies.
- The rapid expansion of LTE networks globally.
- The cost and proliferation of mobile data.
- The growing body of research that supports a multi-modal technology solution for reducing cognitive workload in the vehicle while simultaneously expanding driver accessibility to information.
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