GROWING FASTER WITH NEW MOBILITY SERVICES: CONTINENTAL ESTABLISHES JOINT VENTURE FOR THE CHINESE MARKET
>> Forceful extension of mobility services initiated
>> Continental und China Unicom Smart Connection Technology sign a strategic joint venture contract
>> New Joint Venture will establish and operate a world class Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) solution provider to satisfy the increasing market demands of China
Shanghai, April - As one of the leading experts in vehicle systems and the digitalization of mobility, the technology company Continental is setting its course for accelerated growth in new mobility services. Along the company’s digitalization roadmap, a strategic joint venture contract has been signed together with China Unicom Smart Connection (hereinafter referred to as CUSC), a fully owned subsidiary of China Unicom on the first press day of the Auto Shanghai. The newly formed JV aims to establish and operate as a world class ITS solution provider to satisfy the increasing market demands in China as this is a very important market for ITS.
China is one of the leading and growing markets with regards to mobility services and the connectivity of vehicles with each other and beyond with the traffic infrastructure. “The trend towards digitalization is opening a growing market for mobility services in China for us. We see major opportunities for our accelerated, profitable growth in this market,” said Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board and head of the Interior division. “With the JV we will move forward in the area of Mobility Services. Our JV partner China Unicom is one of the top three Mobile carriers in China with a strong automotive experience but as well access to high-potential service market. This is the perfect strategic fit for us.”
Both companies will have equal 50 percent share in the new JV, which will be headquartered in Shanghai. The company - Unicom Continental Intelligent Transportation Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd - aims to operate as a world class ITS solution provider to satisfy the increasing market demands in China as already today first ITS orders are coming out of this market. It will focus on vehicle data services and applications, intelligent vehicle applications as well as connected vehicle software and hardware integration solutions. First products which will be offered in the Chinese Market are services from the vAnalytics product family such as Fleet+, a mobility service product providing end to end on-demand car sharing platform for OEMs, and the TSP2.0 telematics service platform product which through embedded hardware and cloud-based backend computing, provides vehicle data driven services for OEMs as well as their partners.
vAnalytics, offers cloud-based services using the data collected from inside and outside the vehicle. This versatile platform can be adapted for any type of use case where the vehicle remains the same but the driver changes. Rental cars, personal car sharing and dealership test drives are just a few examples. The options are virtually endless. vAnalytics allows the operation of mobility-related services for both B2B and B2C product ranges – in other words, for services aimed directly at the end customer.
One of the first services provided as part of vAnalytics is Customer Relationship Management, "CRM+", which connects dealers and auto repair shops to their customer's vehicles. This means that with the approval of the customer, the vehicle systems report information - such as faults or wear and tear - directly to the auto repair shop. Based on the analysis of vehicle data in the cloud, the platform can also predict the remaining life of wearable parts or calculate failures that may arise with a certain degree of probability. An appointment for repairs or maintenance can then be made online and the auto repair shop can advise the driver of upcoming inspections or maintenance work. At the same time, the platform also supports the communication of marketing activities, such as special offers or available discounts.
The vehicle data relevant to the services are recorded by a dongle, which is connected to the OBD-2 interface of the vehicle and communicated via the mobile network. This allows vAnalytics to be used in virtually all modern vehicles. Dealers access the platform using a web interface, while a smartphone app is available to their customers. Using an application programming interface (API) implemented in vAnalytics, it will also be possible to connect on-board infotainment systems to the platform and display specific information and tips to customers.
A wide range of services from the very beginning
The worldwide operation of vAnalytics is currently available. Existing services also include Floor+, a GPS-based tracking system that can be used by rental firms or fleet managers to monitor and track the location of their vehicles. The system supports geofencing, allowing it to limit the operating range of rental or fleet vehicles to certain permitted areas. If the dongle is removed from the vehicle, a warning signal is sent to the vehicle owner. Additionally, especially for car sharing operators, vAnalytics incorporates configured versions of all the services listed here in Fleet+.
Several months of practical application in China
vAnalytics has already been able to demonstrate its reliability and practical viability in a large-scale test in the Chinese market. Together with BestDrive – a subsidiary of Continental specializing in spare car parts and auto repair shop services – Continental has been performing trials in Shanghai early this summer concerning the acceptance and application of the CRM+ service. Experience and customer feedback from this test project have been incorporated into the process of optimizing and further developing CRM+ and the vAnalytics platform. The results of the test have been extremely positive.
"With vAnalytics, we are launching a service platform that will revolutionize communication between suppliers and auto repair shops on the one hand, and customers and car drivers on the other," said Pasula Reddy, Head of Product of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) at Continental. "In the future, we will be expanding our platform with even more innovative services, for which we already have plenty of interesting ideas."