Ford is taking a consumer-electronics-oriented approach with MyFord, not only in the connectivity solution’s features but also in the company’s use of a Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider to make the system, according to the research firm iSuppli Corp.
Richard Robinson, principal analyst for automotive infotainment at iSuppli, said that by employing an EMS contract manufacturer rather than a traditional automotive supplier, Ford is behaving like most modern consumer electronics firms, which predominately outsource the production and design of their products to contract manufacturers. With Ford increasingly seen as a trendsetter in the vehicle infotainment industry, the move could open up the automotive market to EMS providers and Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs)—and threaten the position of established automotive electronics suppliers.
The new Mercedes-Benz mbrace telematics system “revolutionizes in-car connectivity by providing the first-ever OEM solution that links cars to smart phones and their apps,” according to an analysis from iSuppli Corp.
iSuppli’s Automotive Business Unit recently performed a usability test on the new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which incorporates the mbrace service. “The new mbrace telematics platform stands high above Mercedes-Benz’s previous solution, called Tele Aid,” said Mark Boyadjis, analyst and regional manager for iSuppli. “By delivering the auto industry’s first telematics-enabled apps, mbrace has set a new benchmark for how to integrate smart-phone applications into the vehicle. Hughes Telematics Inc., the service provider behind mbrace, has integrated features like remote door lock/unlock and vehicle finder into customers’ mobile devices. The mbrace system enhances the usability of the telematics services and increases the relevance of the overall platform.”
Global shipments of automotive telematics systems are set to rise to 84.4 million units in 2016, up by a factor of more than four from 19.3 million in 2008, according to iSuppli Corp. “From sending out an automatic distress call after a car crash, to enabling remote diagnosis of engine troubles, telematics can provide enormous benefits to motorists and car makers around the world,” said Anna Buettner, analyst with iSuppli’s automotive research service. “For drivers, telematics can enhance safety, convenience and connectivity. For car OEMs, telematics can add to and improve car functionality and reduce warranty and after-sales costs. That’s why carmakers and consumers are expected to increase their adoption of telematics systems rapidly during the next seven years.”
Sales of automotive telematics systems in Western Europe are set to rise by a factor of five during the period from 2008 to 2016 as carmakers offer more telematics-equipped models in the region, according to iSuppli Corp. Western European telematics sales are expected to reach 24.8 million systems by 2016, expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.5% from 4.9 million systems in 2008.
“Automotive telematics is defined as the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, allowing the sending and receiving of information,” said Anna Buettner, analyst for automotive electronics at iSuppli. “Telematics can provide a range of benefits to motorists, from notifying an emergency operator when a car’s airbags have been deployed, to reporting vehicle conditions to a remote monitoring center.”