News & Analysis

Boom Time for Vehicle Telematics in the 2020s

Telematics

Vehicle telematics is still a nascent market in India, but has huge growth potential, primarily driven by factors such as rising fuel prices, increasing number of accidents and theft, demand for vehicle navigation, and the pressing need to monitor fuel pilferage. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has endorsed telematics as a way for logistics companies to save money while staying safe and vigilant.

Based on driving behaviors, a car with a telematics device installed can save up to 30% on insurance premiums. In addition, technologies such as cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way this industry operates. In a recent interaction with CXOToday, Vadiraj Katti, Managing Director, iTriangle, explains why vehicle telematics will grow by leaps and bounds in the 2020s. The Bengaluru-based startup that offers cloud-based telematics software solutions and also manufactures its own IoT based tracking device.

CXOToday: What are your views on the Vehicle Telematics segment in India? What are the challenges in this space?

Vadiraj Katti: Globally, around 85% of IoT consumption at present is in the area of vehicle/automotive telematics and we see a similar pattern in India. Vehicle telematics in India is witnessing significant growth and is projected to touch $500 million, according to estimates. Some of the key drivers of growth include, increased use of telematics related solutions, diagnostic data, driver behavior in almost all the sectors of transport and mobility; appetite of the consumers for greater connectivity and intelligence in their vehicles; and the Government’s progressive push for better connectivity and vehicle tracking by mandating the use of telematics devices and solutions in passenger and commercial vehicles.

Yet there are some challenges in this space. What the truck manufacturers and independent telematics providers need to understand is that Vehicle telematics is not just about providing GPS location tracking which is a given, but also about providing actionable diagnostics and helping avoid pilferage of fuel and original vehicle parts. But this may take some time as 80% of the Indian market is small truck owners, who are generally tied up with larger transporters or brokers. They don’t understand vehicle telematics and put it in their vehicles because the larger transporters mandate them.

CXOToday: How technologies like cloud, big data and AI can help in modernizing the vehicle telematics industry?

Vadiraj Katti: The adoption of cloud infrastructure has brought about a paradigm shift in the way automotive telematics industry operates. The focus has shifted from control of automotive electronics to generation of data. With the advent big data technology, automotive data has become the new ‘oil’. The industry is easily able to record each and every data point generated in the vehicle and store it in the cloud, and this huge quantum of data is now being used to generate meaningful insights. This is where AI comes into picture. AI with telematics is being used for analyzing driver behavior and making usage-based insurance possible. Another important aspect is preventive maintenance of vehicles. AI algorithms working on data from vehicles can proactively help detect any anomalies that are likely to occur in the system.

CXOToday:  What are your views on the role of telematics for connected and self-driving vehicles?

Vadiraj Katti: Telematics will play an extremely critical and a significant role in Autonomous vehicles. As the vehicles evolve to become completely driverless, telematics will help with easy mapping of the location, with the speed of the vehicle, to enable the vehicles to move around synchronously. Connectivity plays a major role in autonomous vehicles. These vehicles will need real time map data, real time traffic data, data from smart road infrastructure (V2I), periodic firmware updates of the autonomous vehicle components (sensors, ECUs) etc. and for all of these services, the telematics control units are becoming the default connectivity options for any connectivity with the cloud and other devices.

CXOToday:  How has the journey been so far for iTriangle?

Vadiraj Katti: From inception, iTriangle has focused on building and developing end to end solutions in telematics, as we always believed that this industry will witness exponential growth across the globe and more so in India. With that in mind, we have built a remote data acquisition platform that includes the hardware and the software component of the solution. We also have domain specific solutions in public transport, fleet management solutions, mining, and ambulance management solutions, among others.

We have had a good run so far with over 2, 00,000 vehicle tracking systems installed so far, predominantly in India and the Middle East – North African region. Our solutions are modular and we specialize in offering hardware and software solutions to our partners and also large clients in the private and the government sector. With the Indian Government mandating the use of vehicle telematics solutions in the public/passenger and goods/commercial vehicles, and also defining a standard for the devices like, AIS 140, iTriangle has aggressive plans to grow and become a leading player in this industry.

CXOToday: Do you have an app your customers can download and use?

Vadiraj Katti:  We have an ‘AquilaTrack” app that can be downloaded from the Android Play Store and the iOS App Store. We’re constantly learning from emerging technologies, studying market trends and factoring in ever-increasing demands from customers; accordingly, we’ll keeps updating our portfolio of cutting-edge solutions, making advances in the field of hardware offerings and software solutions.

CXOToday: What are your plans in the next one year?

Vadiraj Katti: We definitely want to be a leading player in this field globally; we are already growing in India and plan to grow bigger by leveraging technologies such as AI and IoT. Also, we have a fairly good presence currently in the Middle East and North African region where we intend to grow aggressively in the next 12 months. We are also planning our foray into the North American and South East Asia markets in the next financial year. In addition, innovation, technology, optimization, affordable products and services, strategic tie-ups with OEMs, expansion of our sales and supply network for covering the after-market requirements will span our primary focus and objectives going forward.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at Trivone Digital, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com