Innovation improves your driving experience

As we move further into the realm of the online space, smartphones, app’s, location services and sharing has become more of norm than an innovation. This space is an ever changing environment and how brands and businesses innovate identifies the thought leaders in this arena.

While it is safe to say that the use of smart technology has impacted every aspect of daily living, one area that is rapidly advancing is, broadly put, the motor vehicle industry. Consider the impact of advancements in this field on a global scale with the motor vehicle production rate already reaching a staggering 60 million passenger vehicles in 2012; South Africa ranked 25th in the global car production summary at 312 265, contributing to 5% of this total. 

At just over 300 000 new vehicles being sold and the current number of South African motorists on the road estimated to already be reaching 11 million, any advancement will have a wide reaching impact. Globally, as well as locally, these developments are abundant and through smartphone technology motorists have become connected to their vehicles – on and off the road.

Lars Möreke, mobile services, Volkswagen Financial Services contextualized developments for Telematics Update; previously interaction with the motorist was done at the dealership or when inside the vehicle, but “Now, thanks to the smartphone, we are able to tell them, get in your car 15 minutes earlier because a traffic jam is imminent.” Telematics has become a powerful tool for motorists and with day to day advancements, the impact for the consumer becomes greater and greater.

Matrix, a leading service provider in this space, will soon launch its new consumer friendly Internet Tracking Site. The site affords customers retrospective Tax Logbook adjustments and allows vehicle titles to be personalized on the site; only some of the new benefits afforded and an innovation that took short of two months to develop. Volkswagen just launched the iBeetle App and Matrix too recently launched its new iPhone App, with varying functionality but at the same token – with the customer experience in mind. Using iBeetle you can stream media and share information and using the Matrix App, motorists are able to track a vehicle from the palm of their hands, view history, routes and speed to name only a few.

The Parker App, from Streetline, has become available in San Francisco, this handy App allows motorists to find available parking bays and prices. Unfortunately, this is only available in The States for the moment but does further highlight the extended functionality motorists will be enjoying. Take Me to My Car is a function many vehicle owners will enjoy, offered on the iStore, this handy button finds your vehicle in a parking area, possibly at an international airport after a very long business trip, alleviating yet another stress.    

Benefits mentioned thus far prioritize convenience and time management, two aspects consumers are very enthusiastic about when it comes to on-the-road management, but another benefit of telematics advancements is the impact it has on driver safety. Approximately 40 people are fatally injured, every day, in South Africa due to road accidents. This unfortunate reality is met with annual and on-going campaigns and increased legislation highlighting and enforcing the importance of safe driver behavior.

A telematics solution that monitors driver behavior; harsh braking, harsh acceleration, harsh cornering and over speeding – all the tools needed for a safe journey throughout your day – is already an offering of Matrix on their MatrixIQ platform for light fleet business owners. This innovation will soon be accessible to Matrix customers in the consumer space

Many factors influence decisions made by motorists as well as the proactive or reactive driving behaviour needed to navigate safely to a destination.  Grant Fraser, Divisional Director (Consumer) for MiX Telematics provides his view; “In this space, the understanding of the variables that impact driver behaviour could be a combination of the following; choice of route, travel time, road type, congestion occurrence of stops and signals, uncertainty and unreliability of travel time.”

He continues, “Imagine a world where your vehicle becomes the hub of your truly connected lifestyle. At the palm of your hand you have access to view current road and route conditions of your specific trip, you are updated with events affecting your journey – in real time and an alternative route is automatically calculated for you, based on your preferences. The best information, providing the best experience and outcome is afforded to the motorist, before a journey even begins.

The telematics space is ever changing, ever evolving and ever interacting. Consumers seem set to benefit from daily advancements in a variety of ways from a convenience and safety point of view. An exciting evolution of technology with wide reaching effects readjusting the status quo. Should the viewpoint of Grant Fraser be realised – what a wonderful world it will be.


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