Implementing a factory-fitted Telematics solution | What are the OEM requirements?

Traditionally, telematics solutions are implemented as aftermarket solutions. Driven by the need for more advanced data collection, connected vehicles and shared mobility business models, automakers are increasingly exploring production line fitment of telematics solutions. Venkat Nathan, Founder and CEO at Nesh LIVE explains who are key stakeholders and how they collaborate to enable production line fitment of telematics solutions.

Introduction – Telematics Solutions

A telematics solution comprises a telematics device and a cloud-hosted secure & scalable server. The device, when fitted in a vehicle, collects and sends data to the cloud server for intelligent analytics-based reports about the vehicle and engine health, processing reports, driver behaviour, alerts and other location-based services.

Aftermarket telematics solutions

The telematics solution device is being predominantly offered as a retrofit today. It is either offered by the dealer or by any Telematics Service Provider (TSP). The solutions offered by the TSPs are focused on traditional fleet management features such as trip analysis, location-based services, route optimization and other driver and vehicle owner-focused features, location history, travel summary and fuel reports. Many companies are catering effectively to the basic fleet owner requirements with features for trip analysis, and location-based services. However, these solutions are limited in their ability to meet the requirements of a vehicle manufacturer (OEM) both in terms of features for vehicle health and engine analytics as well as production line fitment capabilities to meet end-of-line tests and customer onboarding processes.

In recent years, the OEMs are keen to collect & analyze such vehicle data in the cloud in real-time for service alerts and engineering advancements to enhance vehicle safety and efficiency. Also, some countries have started to impose regulatory requirements that need telematics devices for certain categories of vehicles to meet the safety and efficiency guidelines. This has prompted vehicle OEMs to offer the solution as a factory fitment. They are also keen to collect the vehicle data under different terrain, weather and driver behaviour conditions for their ongoing product enhancements and diagnostics.

OEMs are exploring factory fitment of the telematics solution at the production line like any other accessory such as the reverse camera or an infotainment system. The trend of factory-fitted telematics solutions is expected to increase, given the demand for connected vehicles and shared mobility use cases. To handle this scale and complexity, the OEM telematics solution needs to offer extra operational features focused on fleet owners to seamlessly launch the telematics solution.

Key stakeholders and distributed collaboration in the OEM environment

The OEM scale of the process to ensure smooth activation and provisioning of the service involves multiple stakeholders. In the case of OEM line fitment, the various key stakeholders in a telematics ecosystem are listed here.

In some cases, one of the stakeholders may double up as another. e.g. the OEM may also be a TSP or the device manufacturer may also provide a telematics server etc. Even if the stakeholders overlap the respective functions of SIM and device management, the end-of-line testing activities might still be distributed and require strong collaboration for seamless rollout and the best customer experience at the time of provisioning the telematics services.

  • Telematics device manufacturer
  • SIM provider
  • Telematics server
  • Telematics service provider (TSP)
  • OEM
  • Dealer
  • Authorized service centers (ASCs)
Figure 1: Key steps in line fitment of a telematics device by OEMs | Source: Nesh LIVE
Telematics platform for production line fitment

There are various platforms that enable stakeholders to collaborate in real-time with the telematics system.

  • The SIM provider with selective access can upload, activate or pause SIMs using an internet service provider.
  • The device manufacturers then upload their respective device information with the necessary SIMs used in them.
  • The line testing at the device and system level is captured to make sure that the key parameters are relayed to the telematics server before it is prepared for line fitment.
  • In the OEM line, once the device is fitted in the vehicle, the VIN number is sent to the telematics server to create or update the vehicle information.
  • When the dealer makes a sale, an account is created for the customer and the vehicle is moved to their account with the chosen telematics plan.
  • While the customer can view only their vehicles, the dealers or any service agency can view the select vehicles in their region or area of responsibility.
  • The OEM retains the entire view of vehicles across all dealers and customers.
Support for efficient SIM Management

The figure below shows the SIM management phases starting from the line fitment process to onboarding a new customer with connectivity services. The SIM either embedded or physical will need to be proactively managed to ensure the data costs are minimal and do not add up over time.

Figure 2: Management of SIM in a Line-Fitted Telematics Device | Source: Nesh LIVE

In summary, OEM line fitment of telematics devices requires a team with deep expertise in the production line process and skills to build highly scalable software. This software is fitted with multiple integration points to ensure the entire process is fully automated and seamless. This also helps to onboard a few hundred vehicles and new customers every minute.

Therefore, the OEMs are best advised to evaluate the option of using readily available, proven and robust solutions in a secure SaaS or dedicated hosting model. It will help address their line fitment while meeting their connectivity requirements from an end-user point of view.

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