First of all it is interesting to see that consumer telematics has become a reality in North America. GM announced 6 million OnStar customers and Ford 3 million activated SYNC cars. Hyundai Blue Link and Toyota Entune telematics programs were also launched at the show.
In addition to that, the recent launch of a number of electric vehicles will take advantage from telematics features as seen in Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric.
More than ever the consumer electronics, automotive and mobile industries are converging - a convergence on which we have built in the last 4 years the editorial focus of GPS Business News.
The mobile lifestyle is entering the car with dedicated apps but the car is also entering the mobile with more and more remotely available functionalities (door locking/temperature settings/EV charge level and driving range, etc.).
As the Personal Navigation market is hitting maturity – if not decline – Garmin and TomTom are diversifying their business.
With the GTU 10 Garmin launched their first GPS tracking tool aiming at consumers willing to monitor the whereabouts of their teens, elderly parents, pets or assets (read details here). This product falls in the category so far developed by Zoombak, a subsidiary of Liberty Media, and many other smaller start-ups.
However, thus far this market has been under developed due to the high cost of wireless data with monthly tracking plan going from $12 to $20. In this market Garmin has the advantage of volume and existing contracts with wireless operators (connected PNDs) to make the product cheaper: the basic yearly subscription (after one year free) is $49.99 and the Deluxe Tracking service is $4.99 per month.
As it comes to TomTom, the Dutch PND maker used CES as the springboard to launch their first running GPS watch in partnership with Nike (read here). This product is a real milestone, being the first ever outside the car navigation business. This is also why the company chose to partner with a running specialist such as Nike to launch it.