Inside Telematics and the Future of the Connected Car

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When appointed to lead Verizon’s telematics business, Andrès Irlando knew that he was standing at the cusp of a burgeoning industry that is poised to drive much of the innovation in the consumer and enterprise markets. I recently sat down with Irlando in Basking Ridge to learn more about his view of the connected car and his vision of where Verizon fits into the Internet of Things. Here’s what he had to say.

What do you enjoy most about working at Verizon Telematics?

Andres-Irlando-connected-car CEO, Verizon Telematics

Andrés Irlando: What I've come to appreciate about this space is that there's incredible opportunity around the connected vehicle. Whether we’re talking about peoples' personal vehicles or enterprise fleets, the connected vehicle is changing the way we engage with our automobiles. As we said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year, there's no more significant connected device today than cars. I think this is an incredibly exciting space with a lot of potential for Verizon.

Are you managing both the consumer and enterprise side of telematics?

Andrés Irlando: Verizon Telematics is holistically responsible for all connected vehicles. I’d put our lines of businesses into three buckets. One is the consumer-embedded vehicle space, which is where we work directly with manufacturers to embed telematics solutions directly into their vehicles when they are sold. Then there's our consumer aftermarket business that is expected to expand significantly with the launch of Verizon Vehicle, which has the potential to connect nearly every model of vehicle back to 1996. And finally there's our enterprise aftermarket business, which is Networkfleet in San Diego.

What challenges do you think telematics helps solve for our customers and how do M2M technologies and the Internet of Things [more broadly] help improve their businesses?

Whether it's the individual consumer or an enterprise, we are solving for the same challenges, which is knowing how your car or vehicle is operating — by being connected to a reliable network — at all times, both for the inherent functionality as well as the safety and security that it brings. Telematics-enabled solutions are empowering our customers to leverage the power of knowing at all times — what's happening in their vehicle and what's happening around them while they are driving.

How important is data analytics to connected vehicles?

Andrés Irlando: Data analytics are a very important part of the telematics space, but to enable smarter data collection you have to have connected vehicles. The starting point is to connect new and existing vehicles, enterprise and individual vehicles to a network that provides meaningful services. This gives consumers, enterprises and automobile manufacturers access to reams of relevant data, including how their vehicles perform and when they are up for service or leasing renewal or repurchase. Municipal governments, departments of transportation and federal and state governments also can use this type of data to build more efficient roadways, track emissions and implement new tax collection tools — there are so many use cases for these kinds of analytics.

How is Verizon helping manage its customer's risk in terms of telematics?

Andrés Irlando: It's interesting, when you talk to security experts, while they never underestimate the threat — that's the business that they're in — they have yet to see vulnerabilities exploited (beside proof of concept threats) that pose an immediate threat to vehicles that are connected. We take security very seriously and we are working with our internal Verizon security experts and resources, as well as external resources, to keep our telematics platform secure.

You were in China recently, what are your impressions of the telematics market there compared to the U.S.?

Andrés Irlando: China is clearly a major opportunity in a lot of spaces, including the automobile and telematics space. It's now the number one automobile market in the world and the fastest growing. Increasingly, there's a lot of interest and competition in the telematics space. China is part of a broader strategy where we want to be the premier telematics solution provider for our partners across the globe.

Telematics, M2M and Internet of Things technologies have been around for a while, but many of these strategies are fairly new; what's it going to take to reach a tipping point?

Andrés Irlando: I don't want to overly simplify it, but I think telematics is like any product — ultimately it has to solve a consumer need. How and where that will happen will evolve over time. Telematics will be, and is today, an important feature in buying a new car. It's also an important need for people that have existing cars — there are some 70 million drivers in the U.S. alone who subscribe to some sort of roadside assistance. So, they already see a need to have support while on the road.

In the enterprise space, there's a need for owners of fleets to understand where their vehicles are, how they are running, what their fuel consumption is, etc. I'm not sure there's any one tipping point, but if we continue to build a platform and services on top of it that address existing consumer needs, I'm confident that this industry will take off.

Read “State of the Market: The Internet of Things (IoT) 2015” and learn how enterprise organizations are already tangible business benefits using IoT technologies.

Visit Verizon Telematics to learn more about our comprehensive suite of connected solutions and services for enterprises, consumers, OEMs and dealers.

For more information about Verizon Telematics or to contact Andrés Irlando, email Marie McGehee at

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