White Paper

White Paper: Telematics -- Directing the Future of Transport

Source: Wavecom, Inc.

By Wavecom, Inc.

In the early days of the automotive boom, a customer could have 'any colour he wants, as long as it's black' -- as the famous declaration of Henry Ford stated. Things have come a long way since then. Variety and added value services are now part and parcel of both the private and commercial automotive sector, with manufacturers differentiating models and therefore gaining market share not only through slick design, but also through extensive 'add-ons' that make the life of the driver easier and safer, and ease the process of vehicle ownership and operation.

The next 'big thing' in the automotive sector is widely expected to be a surge in the telematics market. Telematics -- literally the combination of telecommunications and informatics -- is essentially about the provision of one- and two-way communications systems into vehicles, integrated with existing and emerging applications. Viewed not only as a way of providing enhanced (and added value) services to drivers, telematics technologies also provide a means of improving driving and vehicle safety, security and performance, whether for private vehicles or commercial fleets.

Of course, the ability to communicate whilst on the road is, in itself, nothing new -- telephones, am and fm radio, and even the good old CB radio have long enabled drivers to communicate with the outside world and receive information. However, the next generation of wireless telematics applications are taking the concept of the wireless connection to a higher level, with the principle of adding intelligence to the driving experience as a key driver. It's no longer about simplifying the driving process through power steering, cruise control or ABS systems -- long controlled by microprocessors -- but rather a question of helping drivers make more intelligent decisions whether in terms of where they're going or how they're going to get there; and also to ensure that driver and vehicle are as safe as possible along the way.

The idea is to integrate GSM/GPRS functionality, often combined with GPS, into the vehicle's systems for intelligent connectivity. Thus, traffic information, itineraries, roadside assistance, emergency calls, real-time logistics management and much more become a reality -- all managed and controlled via wireless connectivity. It's an area with huge potential -- and one that is still only in its infancy.

This paper therefore looks at the potential offered by the telematics revolution, and how wireless technologies are going to facilitate the next generation of transport for us all.

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