Who did Detroit Telematics vote as industry’s best newcomer?

As the telematics game heats up, more and more companies are looking to release their own hardware and software solutions, app makers are trying to stop people from going all-in and using smartphones instead – it’s a busy, messy industry at the moment and looks likely to stay that way until the really big players emerge from the pack. However we might be starting to head in that direction, as over the past few days at the Telematics Detroit conference, the audience was polled on their favourite telematics service newcomer. Can you guess who won?

Most of the 2,000 people attending this year’s Telematics Detroit were business customers and members of the telematics industry, so you’d assume they’d know what they’re talking about too when they gave the thumbs up to NissanConnect, which combines not only traditional telematics tracking and driving analysis software, but also plenty of new in-car functions, like the ability to adjust facets of the vehicle itself, parking assistance, lane departure warnings, tyre pressure gauges and more.

NissanConnect comes in a variety of new vehicles, including the new Altima, Rogue, Sentra, Versa and NV200 and it’s hoped by the company that it will not only help sell vehicles, but that it will keep customers safer.

Despite being the outright winner at the newcomer award however, Nissan had some stiff competition, as there were eight competitors in total, but Nissan ultimately took home nearly a quarter of the top place votes, with 24 per cent approval overall.

Outside of the conference though, Nissan’s new system has received near unanimous praise from the press. It’s been given a big thumbs up for the truly-hands-free experience it gives you, with no screen input required. Users are able to call friends, answer calls, send text messages or even use third party applications for music or video, all by using your voice.

When you do need to use the screen though, it’s beautifully bright and clear, with a decent size – though not overpowering – and a reflection free coating that means you can see what’s going in even in the brightest of conditions. Navigation too was praised, as the maps are easy to understand, meaning even your backseat driving passenger can give you a hand if needs be.

The only real criticism of it comes from the placement of certain features. The CD player feels like a bit of a stretch for the driver – though I doubt it’s getting much use these days – and the button for switching between radio and sat nav could have been placed a bit better, but other than that, it’s a almost complaint free.

Nissan of course released a statement, this one coming from the mouth of Dan Teeter, director of vehicle connected services at the company. He said: “In today’s fast-paced and constantly connected environment, NissanConnect℠ allows drivers and passengers to connect with the world around them while helping minimize distracted driving – a top priority at Nissan. With features such as the Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant, Voice Recognition and a growing list of apps to play music, keep tabs on social media and avoid traffic jams, NissanConnect℠ is the ideal technology to stay connected while keeping both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.”


    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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