News Roundup - January

  • Posted on: 2 February 2015
  • By: interactive

Telematics is a subject that is hitting the headlines on a regular basis here in Britain and worldwide with so many new developments that it can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on.  Here at Interactive Communications, we aim to keep our finger on the pulse so that we can offer our readers the very latest industry news.  With this in mind, we publish a regular news roundup once a month.  Please let us know by email what you think of the news we cover and if you come across an interesting story that we haven’t picked up on, then please let us know. 

News agency Reuters reported that technology advances in telematics and driver assistance systems are steaming ahead according to analysis of global patent applications.  A survey titled “The State of Innovation in the Automotive Industry in 2015” mapped trends in five key areas:  propulsion, navigation, handling, safety and security, and entertainment.   Hyundai was among the leaders in all five categories, ranking number three overall, behind Toyota and Robert Bosch.

The financial press is reporting on the rising popularity of black box car insurance which lowers premiums for careful driving.  Researchers have disclosed that a willingness to sign up to have a black box installed to monitor a driver’s actions behind the wheel has led to more affordable car insurance for younger drivers in particular.   

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was surprised to discover a tracker device hidden under the driver’s seat of his luxury model Jaguar recently.  Following a trip to a local garage, mechanics found a black box with a built-in SIM card which was blamed for draining the car battery, leading to ignition problems.  He’s now trying to trace the previous owner of the car to find out if they had it fitted in case the car was stolen.  Prescott took the discovery in good humour, saying “I can only hope that whoever listened to my conversations installed an automatic bleeper too”.  Although this is an alarming development for Mr. Prescott, perhaps he should have a word with Pauline before searching further afield for the person who had the device installed.

The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills predicts that the global market for smart city technology solutions and services may reach £250 billion by the end of this decade.  This is good news for entrepreneurs in the UK as technology companies race to develop platforms and devices that will enable homes and offices to become “smarter”.  Fashion brands are integrating connectivity into clothes and jewellery, construction companies are planning methods of embedding sensors in roads and buildings and utility companies are changing the way in which they deliver power and water based on usage data.   Meanwhile, governments and regulators are racing to establish the standards that will allow all of these devices to communicate effectively with each other. 

The Internet of Things is certainly on its way and it will be interesting to see just how quickly this infrastructure can be developed.  The British government’s innovation department, Innovate UK has announced the HyperCatCity initiative to encourage cities and businesses to collaborate to find new and efficient ways of delivering services using data and technology.