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2014-01_Telematics_Update_eCall.pdf

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1 Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 8-9 April, Hotel Kempinski, Munich, Germany Pan-European eCall: Boon or bust? The mandated pan-European eCall emergency response system is coming – eventually. But will it be too late to be the essential traffic safety service it was meant to be? And will the telematics and auto industries still profit from it? Siegfried Mortkowitz reports. Ten years ago, the idea of an emergency in-car system that, in case of an incident requiring mechanical and/o
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  1 This exclusive article has been released in association with the Content and Apps for Automotive Europe Conference 2014. This year will see over 250 executive attendees and 30+ expert speakers come together to discuss the most pressing challenges of the IVI space, making it the must attend event for all dedicated automotive infotainment professionals. For more info visit the website:   http://www.telematicsupdate.com/contenteu/  Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 8-9 April, Hotel Kempinski, Munich, Germany Pan European eCall: Boon or bust? The mandated pan-European eCall emergency response system is coming –   eventually. But will it be too late to be the essential traffic safety service it was meant to be? And will the telematics and auto industries still profit from it? Siegfried Mortkowitz reports. Ten years ago, the idea of an emergency in-car system that, in case of an incident requiring mechanical and/or medical assistance, would automatically and instantaneously notify the nearest emergency call centre anywhere in Europe seemed like a brilliant idea. Not only would it save lives  –  up to 2,500 a year, according to European Commission estimates  –  but it would also serve as a platform for other connectivity-related services, to the benefit of both the consumer and the then-fledgling telematics industry. A decade on, following numerous delays, protracted discussions, political foot-dragging and serial objections from carmakers and mobile network operators (MNOs), not only is there still some doubt about the deadline for the full implementation of the pan-European eCall mandate, but its value to the telematics and auto industries is no longer as obvious. “Ten years ago, eCall might have been the only option,” says Dominique Bonte, vice president and group director, telematics & M2M, ABI Research. “But [toda y] its data-over-voice technology is outdated. Its use as a springboard for the connected car is long gone.”  The latest deadline for the mandated full deployment of the pan-European eCall has been set for Oct. 1, 2015. Beginning on that date, all new models of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will have to be fitted with a standardized in-band modem that, in case of a crash, is capable of sending a minimum set of data (MSD)  –   including the vehicle’s location and identification number –  via a voice connection to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). And all 28 countries participating in the project will have to have the necessary infrastructure for handling and responding to the call.  2 This exclusive article has been released in association with the Content and Apps for Automotive Europe Conference 2014. This year will see over 250 executive attendees and 30+ expert speakers come together to discuss the most pressing challenges of the IVI space, making it the must attend event for all dedicated automotive infotainment professionals. For more info visit the website:   http://www.telematicsupdate.com/contenteu/  eCall obstacles Since the announcement of the new launch date, in June 2013, doubts have grown about the feasibility of meeting the latest deadline, however. And it is not helping that the European auto industry is split on the issue. On one hand, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA ) has asked for a 36-month lead time to implement eCall. “The automobile industry is very concerned that the proposed October 2015 entry into force does not respect the 36-month lead time that the industry will need to implement the technical adaptations, as recommended in CARS 2020,” said ACEA secretary general, Ivan Hodac, in June. “Also, considering the member states’ requirement for working infrastructure to be in place, the time needed for legislative procedure and the need to assess the technical and legal challenges, this target date is highly ambitious.” On the other hand, the Paris-based non-profit Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) urged that the October 2015 deadline be met. “It is absolutely a shame that this important safety legislation that we’ve been talking about for ten years is still facing obstacles,” said Laurianne Krid, FIA Region I Policy Director, in a statement. “It is essential that policymakers decide quickly so that eCall can start saving lives.” One of those obstacles is the fear that there are not enough Galileo satellites in orbit to support the eCall system, says Marcel Visser, Director Business Development Automotive Segment, Gemalto. Up to the present, four operational satellites have been launched to test the system. Once the testing phase has been completed, more satellites will be launched to reach initial critical mass. The question is, Visser says, will there be enough time to test the eCall system with the satellites that are to be launched about the same time as eCall. The European GNSS Agency GSA has stated that there will be sufficient satellites operational by the end of 2014 to meet the mandated requirements for eCall. The repeated delays have also frustrated many earlier supporters of the eCall legisla tion. “I’m losing confidence in mandates,” Bonte says. “All I’ve ever seen is delays.” According to Bonte, the deployment of pan -European eCall could be delayed at least another two years. However, Andy Rooke, senior project manager at ERTICO and project coordinator for the Harmonised eCall European Pilot (HeERO) project sponsored by the European Union, is cautiously optimistic about the latest deadline being met. “At the moment, it’s on track,” he says. “I haven’t spoken to anyone involved with the legisl ation who told me, ‘Relax, it’s not going to be ready in 2015.’”   Eight of the fifteen countries participating in the eCall project are already “eCall - compliant,” Rooke says. And although many MNOs are stalling on network upgrades because handling eCalls will not bring them revenue, they have no choice but to comply, Rooke adds.  3 This exclusive article has been released in association with the Content and Apps for Automotive Europe Conference 2014. This year will see over 250 executive attendees and 30+ expert speakers come together to discuss the most pressing challenges of the IVI space, making it the must attend event for all dedicated automotive infotainment professionals. For more info visit the website:   http://www.telematicsupdate.com/contenteu/  Too late and too costly? A mandate that places telematics technology into every new car would appear to be a boon to carmakers and telematics service providers, so the hostility to eCall is a little puzzling, especially considering how enthusiastic many concerned players had been initially. Unfortunately, while eCall has been stuck in neutral or, at best, first gear, the rest of the world has changed. And Europe and the car and telematics industries are no longer what they were when the idea was first conceived. For example, the world is still trying to recover from a protracted economic crisis that caused a severe slump in new car sales. And while the new car market appears to be recovering in Europe, the upturn is largely due to sticker price discounts of nearly 20%. In such a negative pricing environment, the €35 to €100 the eCall device will add to the sticker price of a car is not welcome. What’s more, in the long wait for the eCall rollout, many OEMs –  most notably, Ford, PSA Peugeot Citroën, BMW and Volvo  –  have been investing into their own emergency systems. Now they worry that eCall could make their own products superfluous. “Everyone is pushing ahead with their own programs and no longer waiting for eCall,” Bonte says. In addition, current legislation demands that the pan-European eCall be the exclusive emergency response system used by drivers in Europe, effectively rendering existing proprietary systems illegal. But that problem it is hoped will be resolved, Rooke says, and the language in the legislation will be amended to allow OEMs to maintain their own emergency call systems, with the pan-European eCall as a backup in case the car is used in a location where the OEM proprietary solution does not work or has not been activated or in case the vehicle is sold. “This may involve a dual-SIM in- vehicle system with a switchover as being a possible solution,” he says.  There are good reasons for this redundancy, according to Rooke. One is that many proprietary solutions are smartphone-connected and, therefore, may not function in a serious crash where the smartphone might be damaged, or the driver is unable to operate it. (The pan-European eCall is embedded and triggered automatically via air bag deployment or other sensors.) Another is that, eCalls will be given the highest priority by the PSAPs, which greatly decreases response times. Does eCall fit with new business models? The pan-European eCall project has also been affected by the unexpectedly rapid strides made in recent years in telematics technology, which is now creating new, potentially lucrative business models for carmakers. For example, carmakers are currently investing heavily in complex business models that are built around the resale of the large amounts of data that can be extracted from the car, such as its location, its mechanical condition and even who is driving. “In order to be able to provide best in class services, O EMs want to know where their customer is and want to keep and improve the customer relation,” Visser says.  4 This exclusive article has been released in association with the Content and Apps for Automotive Europe Conference 2014. This year will see over 250 executive attendees and 30+ expert speakers come together to discuss the most pressing challenges of the IVI space, making it the must attend event for all dedicated automotive infotainment professionals. For more info visit the website:   http://www.telematicsupdate.com/contenteu/  There is also a great deal of money at stake for a carmaker in keeping their customers loyal to its brand. But eCall is coming, whether in 2015 or later, so carmakers will have to come to terms with it. The question is: Can they also profit from it? Winners and losers The question of how to profit from the eCall mandate has become something of a controversy. Both Bonte and Rooke say that there are few chances to leverage the Pan European eCall device for other telematics services, because it was not designed for that purpose. Magnus Johansson, director of business development at WirelessCar, is very bullish on the idea. “This is  a big opportunity for the telematics industry,” he says. “We should be grateful to the [European Commission] that they are mandating this technology.” While saying that the eCall service is not the blockbuster opening the industry had wanted, it is a good and appreciated service and could, if handled well, be lucrative. “The box is too valuable to be used only for eCall,” Johansson says. “If OEMs put it in only for the minimal service and only to be compliant, then it is only added cost. So you must make sure, as an OEM, when buying the device and the SIM card that it can be used for other telematics services.” Cyril Zeller, vice president, global telematics, Telit Wireless Solutions, agrees. “The European Commission has said that they have no objection to the box being used for [other] services as long as the eCalls safety and privacy requirements are ensured,” he says. Visser says that following the recommendation of the European Parliament, the European Commission is currently considering the use of the eCall device for pan European eCall as well as for third-party supplier services, something that was not part of the srcinal spec. For Zeller, this means OEMs could build the telematics box for location-based services on top of the eCall device. “This means using the same hardware platform for several applications, like PCs or smartphones that are used for a number of different applications,” he explains. “The handset industry moved from cell phones (mono -app) to smartphones (multi-apps). The telematics industry must do the same in order to grow much faster. eCall is giving us a great opportunity to do so if we take this opportunity to design eCall boxes that can support additional services, ideally in an environment opened to third- party developers.”  Li ke Johansson, Zeller is critical of those in the industry, whether Tier 1s or car OEMs, who “see only the cost, but don’t see the additional revenues.” He foresees the eCall device as the basis of “an open platform which allows easy integration of third-pa rty services in the box.”
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