Keeping on top of all of the telematics trends in the world is no easy matter. Beyond the near everyday news of a new fleet or organisation seeing the light and enjoying the benefits of the tracking and analytical technology, there’s all the advancements being made in hardware and software development, as well as changes in how the public perceives it.
That’s why even though we may do a pretty good job of informing you of what’s going on in the world of telematics, we often rely on the reports from some of the world’s top research firms to give us the low down on what’s going on with telematics around the globe. But these companies rarely get a taste of the limelight, so it seems only right that they should be celebrated just as much the developers themselves.
With that in mind, in no particular order, here’s our top telematics research firms and how they help keep us all up to date on the latest developments.
LexisNexis has existed in one form of another since the late 70s, where it helped pioneer the electronic archiving and accessing of legal and corporate documents, making information easier to gather and view. This led to it becoming the world’s largest depository of legal and public-record documents in the world in 2006, but it’s the firm’s contributions to telematics that we’re most interested in.
Of course LexisNexis has a bigger stake in the telematics industry than most firms, since it also provides risk solution management services and through its subsidiary, Wunelli, provides traditional usage based insurance (UBI) packages. Because of these vested interests, LexisNexis’ research has a lot more information to go on than your average analyst organisation.
For example, it recently conducted an in-depth study into consumer interest in telematics, utilising much of its publicly held information and data from customers to see just how the US public feels about the technology and UBI premiums. Through that, it learned (and by proxy, informed the rest of us) that interest in telematics technology had increased from 37 per cent in 2013, to 38 per cent in 2014. However if you limited that to just 21 to 25 year olds – the group that often stands to benefit the most from telematics enabled insurance – awareness increased to a much more respectable 45 per cent.
That’s a good sign.
Ptolemus Consulting Group
As impressive as LexisNexis is of course, it’s quite a broad organisation with a lot of different focuses, even if they do tend to complement one another. Ptolemus however, is a much more streamlined organisation, with its mission statement clearly defined as offering strategy advisory for those building and maintaining location based services.
Because it’s placed itself in the role of an advisory firm, rather than one focused on product sales of its own, Ptolemus needs to constantly maintain its cutting edge knowledge of the latest telematics technologies and how best to implement that in the businesses it supports.
Headed by founder and managing director, Frederic Bruneteau, Ptolemus has staffed its management team with experts from a number of viable industries. Bruneteau himself worked with Vodafone for years, where he assumed various management responsibilities, including the director of WiFi and WiMax marketing and sales. Other staff have similar backgrounds, with experience in mobile and telematics fields, as well as location based software and hardware design.
Along with supporting companies on an individual basis with its crack team of analysts, Ptolemus also publishes public reports such as the 2010 European Location Study, which takes a comprehensive look at location technologies, covering how they work, how much they cost and compare with one another, and how that can apply to various different business models.
More recently it released a global study of UBI packages, offering a truly global take on the industry by interviewing several world leaders in the insurance industry, as well as analysts and representatives of various companies that provide those sorts of insurance packages. While not freely available, the 800 page report is incredibly comprehensive, and offers invaluable insight into the state of the telematics industry from an insurance perspective.
Another company that provides the world with in-depth studies of telematics and its various affected industries, is ABI Research, which over the past few years has released multiple reports on different aspects of the telematics industry. From covering market trends, to pointing out pioneering aspects of specific telematics vendors, its been delivering comprehensive break downs of the market and it’s impact beyond it for years now.
What sets ABI apart however, is that it doesn’t just focus on telematics, but covers many of its companion industries as well. It also looks into the likes of the Internet of Things, which will be incredibly important for disseminating up to date information to connected cars in the future. It also has reports on machine to machine communication, which is again, something that will be paramount for technology in the years to come.
It even has studies covering the latest developments on mobile connectivity and the delivery of information from the cloud, both of which will be important when it comes to creating the telematics devices and the connected vehicles of tomorrow.
To make sure it stays at the cutting edge of these developments, ABI research employs a crack team of tens of researchers, from Stuart Carlaw, current chief research officer, right through to teardown analyst Kyle Warren. What’s perhaps most impressive too, is that most of the researchers have a public persona. Visiting the analyst page on the official ABI website, a good number of the researchers have links to their personal Twitter pages, which makes it very easy for consumers to get in touch and ask questions if they have them.
Rarely do research firms have this level of interaction with the public and professional sector and it puts ABI in a unique position to provide comprehensive coverage of ongoing trends in telematics and many other fields, to a wide and varied audience.
C.J. Driscoll and Associates
C.J. Driscoll is one of those firms that’s been researching telematics since the technology has existed. While few people would have known what it meant if you mentioned it to them back in 1993, when the company first started, its founders had success by providing market consultancy and research to companies in the fields of GPS and wireless products and services – so you can see how that easily transitioned to telematics before long.
Today it continues to provide insight into wireless industries, including the mobile management of resources utilising GPS and other location based services. However, with the growth of telematics, its consumer front has become a major area of focus for the company and it has clients all over the world that utilise its information to carve out a better stake for themselves in their respective markets. Some of those include hardware and software makers behind some of the latest telematics technology, as those companies want to know what their competitors are up to and vice versa, though it also provides research information to auto-manufacturers, cellular carriers, investment firms and a number of other high profile industry leaders.
One area C.J. Driscoll has particular stood out however is in overseas research. Its latest study was on the commercial telematics market in China, which has shown surprising growth in recent years. In-fact it’s been reported that the government there is keen to utilise the technology and future automation to help ease congestion problems in some of its busiest cities. This is not only an important finding for telematics companies, as it highlights excellent business opportunities for those that can make their technology work just as well in foreign markets, but warns auto-makers that heavy investment into the field may be incoming in the near future and that may lead to greater competition in the long run.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
It would be rude to assume that all of the best telematics research comes out of English speaking companies or countries, so we take a little trip to Germany with the next organisation on our list. At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, there is a telematics research group headed by Professor Zitterbart. Together with students studying all manner of qualified sciences, the group looks at topics that cover a variety of fields related to telematics, in an attempt to answer some of the most interesting questions posed by the technology.
For example, some of its more recent focused efforts include investigating the infrastructure, management and signalling methods used by various companies as part of their telematics networks. It also looks into wireless networks and important facets of them, like the operation of middleware, security and how they can be utilised by data transmission standards like peer to peer to improve certain aspects of the technology.
Over the years, the institute has further legitimised itself by partnering with leading organisations from all over the world. They come from all manner of industries, including telecom providers like France Telecom and Deutsche Telecom; auto manufacturers like Daimler, BMW and Audi, as well as technology leaders like Siemens and NEC.
Together, the students have published tens of papers over the past few years, including one earlier this year that looked at the potential need for increased security and privacy when it comes to smart metering systems for electricity and gas usage; a home based version of telematics.
Allied Market Researchers
Although not as focused on telematics and related industries as much as the other organisations on this list, Allied Market Researchers gets a mention for simply being the latest firm to release a paper on the topic. The full name of the study is too long to write here, but sufficient to say it looks at the state of the industry over the past two years and predicts where it’s going right through to 2020.
This is just part of what Allied does however, as over the years it’s produced studies and industry reports on everything from the best technologies for aiding those with diabetes, to the top global kitchen appliances. There is a broad spectrum of technology out there and Allied offers a broad spectrum of studies to make sure we all understand what’s what.
It’s also noteworthy for its relatively young age. Based in Oregon, USA, Allied Market Researchers is a company that’s less than two years old and yet it has an employee count that’s almost 200 and it does more than just provides studies for the world to read. It also offers consultancy and advice for firms in a wide variety of tech-focused fields, as well as analysis of competitor corporations, product performance reports and it’s even willing to conduct research into man on the street responses.
At least somebody is asking the consumer what he thinks. After all, he’s the one buying the products.
Each of the companies showcased here has a unique position to view the telematics industry from and therefore provides its own branded take on what the state of it is at any one time. It’s this broad spectrum of opinions and facts that makes the telematics industry such an exciting and varied one to read and write about.
However one thing they can all likely agree on is that telematics is growing exponentially. Over the next few years it’s set to expand like never before and will see it being utilised by consumers, enterprises and government authorities more than ever.
New uses are also being discovered and we may soon move beyond just tracking cars and business vehicles. Soon our homes with have their own versions of telematics hardware and even people too to some extent with wearable tracking. It’s an exciting new world of telematics development out there and these companies and organisations are helping us all stay on the cutting edge right along with it.