Vodafone Aims At Connected Cars With Cobra Buyout
Vodafone is betting big on machine to machine (M2M) market and is aiming at connected cars. The mobile operator has agreed to buy electronics services company, Cobra Automotive Technologies, for $197 million as part of its strategy to connect millions of devices such as cars and other machines, according to a Reuters report.
Cobra Automotive Technologies, an Italian company, is a provider of security, telecommunications and vehicle tracking for the automotive and insurance industries.
Vodafone, like other mobile operators, is looking to expand into the M2M industry to connect devices within sectors including healthcare, automotive, transportation and energy. Cars are at the forefront of the new industry, as manufacturers strive to add new features such as streaming music, playing audio books, navigation aids and security improvements to their vehicles.
Only about 10 percent of vehicles currently have built-in connectivity to the internet, but that number is expected to rise to more than 90 percent by 2020, according to British consulting firm Machina Research.
Earlier this year, Apple unveiled its CarPlay technology, which integrates its iPhone with a car and allows drivers to use certain apps on the dashboard with Siri, the voice-enabled assistant, to view maps, make calls, listen to music and send and receive text messages.
Vodafone Group currently offers a global M2M platform to enable business customers to centrally manage M2M deployments in different regions. In March, the operator group announced plans to supply an embedded SIM for new Volkswagen and Audi models in Europe from 2015, says the report.
The company also has previous experience with M2M in the automotive sector. Two years ago Vodafone Germany reportedly, unveiled a five-year deal to supply M2M connectivity for BMW cars sold domestically.
“The combination of Vodafone and Cobra will create a new global provider of connected car services,” Erik Brenneis, Director of M2M at Vodafone told Reuters. “We plan to invest in the business to offer our automotive and insurance customers a full range of telematics services.”
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