The telematics industry must refocus its attention toward delivering vehicle-specific services if there is any hope of overcoming its current lull.

With automakers facing daunting and unprecedented challenges in today’s market place, there is less room for error when launching a new telematics initiative, according to the findings of a new research study from ABI. “When telematics was first conceptualized, OEM had grandiose visions of sophisticated, cutting-edge vehicle-centric services that provided intrinsic values to customers and OEMs alike,” stated Frank Viquez, ABI director of automotive electronics and report author. “For the most part, players lost sight of this and mistakenly went on to push infotainment-type services during what was then the height of the dot-com age.”

The result was a slew of failed telematics ventures, which has sent most OEMs back to the drawing board or placed their telematics projects on hold.

Subsequently, the industry stuck to what initially worked, which was safety and security services such as automatic collision notification (ACN).

But such applications may not be compelling enough to sustain customers in the long run. According to the report, the total global telematics market will climb to over $14 B in 2008 from over $2 B in 2002. In order to achieve this growth, the study advises that the current approach to telematics must be eradicated and replaced with differing strategies among various vehicle platforms and customer segments. Customers must also be afforded the opportunity to pick from the various, lower cost vehicle-specific applications to find those that best suit their needs.