Telefonica Signs up Plug-and-Play Expertise for Fleet Telematics


If there is one thing that will help just about any technology’s case it is “plug and playability,” where devices, and management systems, whatever their purpose, just work without tinkering. It’s a little like getting a toy which has the batteries inside already on Christmas day, rather than having to scramble about to find ones which fit from the remote for the TV. (Note to self- buy batteries…)

Often, there is a lot required, usually in the form of extra code, to make communications industry solutions fit together. Sometimes they remain incompatible. That’s why a recent announcement between Telefonica and fleet telematics service provider Geotab is quite significant. The agreement brings Geotab’s fleet service offering to Europe through Telefónica’s existing telematics offering, allowing Geotab to build on 400,000 US vehicles, representing 40% of the top ten fleets in North America. Telefonica, for its part, just knows that it works without the headache of having to sort it out itself.

The agreement will initially focus on the markets of Spain, Germany and the U.K. with the intention to explore Latin American markets in the near future. The fact that such deals are being struck illustrates an important point – that telematics is well ahead of other industry sectors when it comes to M2M development, even if others hold more promise in terms of units connected (smart metering) or eventual pervasiveness (healthcare, but that is a seriously long way off).

Fleet management is already high-tech. Real-time fleet management and the ability to develop a number of alerts, notifications, and review driver trip and activity reports are standard now-a-days (all of which are offered by Telefonica and Geotab). On the engine management side of things, on-board diagnostics through engine indicators can feedback engine failures and engine fault code diagnosis.

So much for the service offering, what else does this little partnership show us? Well, one take-away is that the future of M2M will be built on alliances and partnerships. Often only specialists will have the expertise in very specific areas, and in most instances only the communications companies will have the bandwidth and reach to provide the connectivity for the future connected world those specialists are trying to build.a