Automotive set to be the top M2M growth sector

Ashish Gulati
Country Manager, India, Telit Wireless Solutions

The recent acquisition of NXP’s Automotive On-board Platform (ATOP) expandsTelit’s OEM offer.The new BU, Telit Automotive Solutions, unifies the resources of the two companies and this will result in an accelerated drive towards market leadership in this segment.
ATOP isan integrated, certified component that has all the functionality needed to create standalone On-Board Units (OBUs) for road pricing, eCall, and other certified orauthenticated services and applications. On the software side there is an open, multi-application development environment basedon IBM’s J9 virtual machine, which can execute JAVAcode. In a nutshell, it’s an impressive single-component turnkey solution having tight hardware and software integration.

Easyin-car integration is enabled by a broad range of interfaces, which include CAN and USB, multiple serialinter-processor buses, A/D and D/A converters, andanalog in & outputs for audio signals. In addition ATOP can be employed as a front-end to more advanced, open-service telematicsplatforms. These are key features, particularly for up-market brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz.
Automotive is one of Telit’skey markets. We not only develop modules specific for this industry, but the company also ensures the highest quality standards are observed from R&D to manufacturing and logistics. To guarantee total adherence to these quality standards we have a dedicated team spanning R&D, sales and support.
This dedicated team focuses on different phases of development. One group is focused on field testing and software validation. Another handles “Reliability Validation”; a third group offers first and second level technical support; and a fourth group has the sole responsibility of ensuring that all “interactions” among different functions inside our company including R&D, purchasing, quality, test engineering, and others take place efficiently and expeditiously.

Complementary capabilities
Solutions based on dedicated automotive modules will continue to be the preferred option for many vehicle manufacturers and we shall continue to develop the existing product line, e.g. the GE910-AUTO, HD920, LE920 and UE910-AUTO. The responsibility for these products will be moved into the new company and additional R&D resources will be assigned to future automotive products. The acquisition of ATOP should therefore be seen as a complementary addition to our comprehensive product portfolio.

Synergistic relationships
Telit has been active in the automotive market for several years and in that time we have acquired a vast knowledgebase as well as a considerable amount of operational experience of this industry. In addition, we have the global reachas well as the various support services needed to facilitate the marketingand deployment of ATOP-centric solutions.

Back in 2009 Telit created dedicated sales and support teams that could function locally and at the same time be managed on a regional and global basis by senior Telit specialists. I was responsible for automotive. Telit Automotive Solutions employs the same model. It operates in a global ecosystem comprising a direct sales force that operates out of 32 offices around the world plus a distribution channel that has 60 specialists in over 80 countries. These value-added distributors have detailed local knowledge and expertise. Everything is aggregated. In this way Telit is not only close to its customers, it becomes an integral part of their marketing operation.

Research and development
Market leadership cannot be realized without making significant investments, but more is needed in today’s ultra-competitive market. Application Engineersare also involved. Different technical representatives are assigned to ensure that projectsare completed quickly, efficiently, and successfully with the shortest time-to-market. This is also the group within Telit serving as the interface between customers and R&D. They coordinate activities with hardware and software engineers to speed up the integration process and customers can also access the laboratories in order to obtain additional to help with technical issues and compliance testing.

A huge market with enormous potential
It is hard to exaggerate the potential of vehicle telematics: over 60 million were manufactured in 2012. Take up of telematics solutions is very low, which means that there is a huge untapped market. This situation will change and government legislation is a key driver. There is the ERA-GLONASS initiative in Russia, Contran 245 in Brazil and e-Call in Europe, which should be mandatory in most countries by 2015. These are positive developments that Telit has tracked and, as indicated earlier, we already have the requisite products. Moreover, our portfolio has been extended and expanded via the acquisition of NXP’s ATOP platform.

Expanded was italicized in order to emphasize the fact that this next-generation platform enables the development of consolidate solutions. This topic was considered in the 2013 edition of our telit2market magazine. The article anticipatedthe emergence of low-cost, but more sophisticated platforms that will allow the hardware and the related data plans to be shared with the various telematics solutions. ATOP has the requisite functionality.
The open, multi-application software environment ensures interoperability and secure co-existence insystems that run multiple telematics applications in parallel.The ARM7 environment, which uses C/C++, complementsthe IBM J9 environment with low-level, true real-timecapabilities for application integration.

A powerful package
The ATOP platform packs all the functionality needed to create standalone On-Board Units. Key features include: GNSS (GPS) and GSM/GPRS communication; device and vehicle connectivity via CAN, USB, and NFC; transaction security and authentication mechanisms; secure, over-the-air software and applications upgrades; and multi-service capable and multi App concept.

Key benefits include: single-component, turnkey telematics solution withreference design; optimized cost, form-factor, in-car connectivity, andpower consumption; three-processor architecture for compliance with automotivestandards, GSM, security, and service certifications; open, flexible framework based on standard software; built-in, banking-grade security functions and ultra-small footprint.

There is a lot to like about this package and it is set to play a pivotal role in the open, multi-service telematics solutions that will provide us with applications such as eCall, SVT, PAYD, and fleet management. ATPO can also function as an in-car client for smart grid based e-cars and pooled car applications.

Telit is an established supplier of automotive-grade modules, but given the size of the market and its potential, Telit decided that a dedicated business unit would allow the company to better address all those opportunities. This focused approach would also facilitate the execution of our strategy, which is to become the market leader in the automotive segment by 2015. The acquisition of ATOP should therefore be seen as a significant step towards the realization of that objective.