Several studies have been published in the last year or so that predict the future of wearables and they’re all subtly different, making it difficult to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong. Ultimately we’ll need to wait and see, but in the mean time, today we have another study to ponder over. This one comes from Swedish based M2M/IoT market research firm, Berg Insight and it claims that over the next few years, the telematics market is going to see a compound annual growth of around 30.6 per cent, meaning that by the time we reach 2020, there will be over 54.5 million telematics connected vehicles around the world.
As impressive as that figure is however, what’s really eye opening is that that’s only for OEM installed telematics offerings. If you combine the number of people that are expected to be using smartphone or some other handset related telematics system, the number jumps to a whopping 123 million devices.
This differs from other studies undertaken by other research groups, but part of the issue with these disparities is that everyone categorises what telematics is just a little differently. There are companies that would consider bespoke hardware and software the only real telematics, whereas others are happy to bundle in smartphone applications and other sources of tracking.
Regardless of your terminology though, car manufacturers are having to make a similar choice about what sorts of telematics to offer their customers, as insurers are keen for the car makers themselves to install some sort of telematics system in at the point of manufacture, rather than retro fitting it in later on. My guess is that while some will partner up with telematics developers in order to create something unique, once more car makers start using Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay systems for their head units, that utilising mobile phone based telematics would make a lot more sense.
However as Telecom Tech News points out, the more common solution at the moment is to provide a measure of both types of telematics, to appeal to different customers. Of course there are some customers that don’t want the tech at all due to privacy concerns or no need for the insurance discounts offered, so there needs to be an option for them too. That said, even those that don’t want to be tracked all the time, often enjoy features like roadside assistance and stolen vehicle tracking, so perhaps at some point everyone will have some measure of telematics in their car, whether they’re comfortable with all aspects of it or not.
One big thing that manufacturers, insurers and telematics providers are going to have to work on though is subscriber re-uptake. At the moment, while many people give telematics a try, once they’ve gotten their first taste of a discount or have tracked themselves for a few months to see how well they drive, a large number don’t resubscribe. If telematics are ever to take off fully, they’ll need to figure out why that is and fix it.
Especially if they want to hit the lofty predictions set out by Berg and co.
Image source: MBWA PR