SAIC brought its InkaNet embedded telematics system into the market earlier this year at the Beijing Auto Show under the Roewe brand. The system is now available in dealer showrooms and it is opening eyes to the possibilities around innovative telematics solutions in China and elsewhere. The ability to deliver location-aware advertising is one capability worth a closer look especially for its potential to subsidize telematics services.
The InkaNet system was created with the assistance of Pateo. The founder of Pateo is also the founder of Energy Source, which is an advertising agent established in 2001. The functionality of the system, described in literature distributed in Roewe dealerships, includes a wide-range of location-relevant applications and services.
While the system does not explicitly state this objective or capability, the description of the system suggests it may well be the first automotive system (in China) able to deliver location-relevant advertisements. If so, it is not unlike the service deployed in New York City cabs by Creative Mobile Technologies.
Fitted for rearseat viewing by taxi passengers, the Creative Mobile Technologies solution is able to use GPS data to determine when and where ads are shown in the rearseat. The system also enables credit card payments and CMT has started to release data regarding the kinds of information passengers have requested from the system by day of the week, such as news, weather, sports, business, Zagat or People Magazine.
New York’s taxi commissioner commented in a recent NYTimes article that in lieu of demanding advertising revenue, the city hoped that the additional income for vendors might encourage them to lower the fees they charge to cab owners, which could in turn reduce the pressure to increase fares.
The only current player in the telematics eco-system offering the prospect of sponsored content or services is Pioneer Electronics with its Platform for Aggregation of Internet Services (PAIS). Pioneer has made clear that this social networking oriented system, enabled through a smartphone connection or an embedded module is built around a revenue sharing model unmatched in the industry.
As Google and Bing bring their browser battle to the automotive segment, the opportunity for sponsored search or other subsidized content in the car is on the table. (Will Baidu offer sponsored search for connected cars in China?) And ClearChannel’s iHeartRadio Internet radio service deal with Toyota Motor Sales could include some advertising or promotional element.
It is worth noting that one of the most successful connected services delivered to cars – as measured from a profitability standpoint, is Sirius XM. Sirius and XM bought their way into dashboards which eventually led to positive cashflow. Maybe it’s time for more content and service providers to pay up. InkaNet is showing the way.
NOTE: The InkaNet system is not without its shortcomings. For further details:
- Enter, the Dragon
Getting Its Moment on the Telematics
Stage - Lanctot - Insight – Automotive Multimedia & Communications Service
http://bit.ly/gWT4QX - Automotive Electronic Design Heads East - Kevin Mak - Automotive Electronics Service