Magneti Marelli and Telecom Italia: Introducing tema.mobility, the new infomobility services consortium

11/23/2007 - 00:00 PM

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Vehicles soon to feature broadband connections to an innovative in-car system, offering fleet management, traffic information, ant-theft car tracking, reduced insurance premiums and entertainment

Telecom Italia and Fiat Group company Magneti Marelli have founded the tema.mobility consortium, a 50/50 joint venture to create innovative solutions that connect vehicles via cellphone networks to on-board infomobility services.

The two companies have developed an innovative application that, through an easy-to-install “telematic box” with a cellphone SIM card, interacts with the driver by voice or via a dedicated display. The system connects the car to the high-speed UMTS network, ensuring on-the-move mobile broadband and access to infomobility services.

tema.mobility leverages “open” technology that is being made available to all providers of new automobility applications. This approach will foster the development of innovative services for public and private transport, vehicle insurance companies, and for company fleet management.

The public and private transport services on offer will span information on access restrictions, limited traffic areas, incidents that affect normal traffic flows (events, accidents, roadworks, etc.), the option to pay tolls and parking fees, remote breakdown diagnosis, and security services ranging from emergency calls to e-calls and anti-hijacking technology, as well as car tracking if the vehicle is stolen. The application can also store data on vehicle use, such as the number of kilometres travelled, the type of route, and the condition the vehicle is in. Information of this type will allow “pay per use” insurance policyholders to pay less for their insurance, and allow insurance companies to have an increasingly “customized” relationship with their clients.

Future tema.mobility applications may include on-board multimedia entertainment (films and music), and the delivery of salient work and lifestyle information to drivers.

The potential economies of scale generated by this technologically-open platform should result in more accessible costs for service providers and end-users alike; service providers in particular will no longer need to build their own platform to provide services.

The venture is expected to help boost the ITS (Intelligent Transport Services) market, which the Italian Ministry of Transport estimates will be worth €400 million in 2007, rising to €900 million in 2011.

The system’s technological architecture perfectly integrates ICT into the motor vehicle environment by combining an in-car online system with a platform that connects the vehicle’s on-board system with service providers’ software applications.

The in-car online system connects to the mobile telecommunications network to ensure on-the-move access, and interacts with software applications assembled by third parties – yet another reason why this venture offers an exciting business opportunity to forward-thinking service providers.

The Consortium chairman is Eugenio Razelli, CEO of Magneti Marelli. The Consortium’s Board of Directors consists of Stefano Pileri, General Manager of Technology at Telecom Italia, and Mauro Nanni, Head of the Top Client Division at Telecom Italia; Giovanni Roso is the Consortium Manager.

“As far as we’re concerned,” says Eugenio Razelli, CEO of Magneti Marelli, “the development of intelligent systems connecting cars to the surrounding environment is a major challenge that allows us to maximize the services and benefits available from the growing reach of the internet, while at the same time minimizing the impact of traffic congestion and associated CO2 emissions. The reason why we went into this consortium with Telecom Italia was to ensure network access via always-on connections to information services, entertainment, assistance (for example e-calls, remote diagnosis and others), in order to promote more aware driving practices (also known as ’ecodriving’).”

Giovanni Roso, who is the Manager of tema.mobility, adds: “The internet has made us increasingly used to living, working and travelling with vast quantities information, but as soon as we step into our cars, using information becomes incredibly hard. It’s inconvenient to say the least to use a mobile phone, PC, handheld or some other consumer electronics device to access information while driving. The challenge we have set ourselves is to integrate the internet into cars so that it’s possible to access and use information services, and to help develop new ways of interacting with the environment and the people around us while we’re on the move, in a straightforward way, using commands and switchgear with which people are familiar in cars.”

Milan, November 23, 2007