How to choose the best telematics solution for connectivity

Cover image showing the title How to choose the best telematics solution for connectivity and Alexander Kim headshot.

Over the last several years, Invers and Wunder Mobility have jointly worked on customer success in the shared mobility industry. Customers like emmy, Green Mobility and KRuiser are relying on their technology for a long time and have been able to successfully develop their businesses over many years.

We spoke with Alexander Kirn, CEO of Invers, about how to choose the best telematics solution.

Hi Alexander, can you describe at which point connectivity solutions come into play in shared mobility?

Whenever you want to digitally interact with a vehicle, be it a car, a campervan, a moped, a scooter or an e-bike, you need a connectivity solution. For example, when customers look for vehicles in your free-floating shared mobility app, they should see the available ones thanks to a backend connection that sends information on their location. They will then use the app and connectivity solution to book their trip, find and unlock their vehicle, and start their trip.

Reliable connectivity solutions are critical to make sharing businesses successful. They give shared mobility operators digital access to their vehicles through the cloud for user interactions and for fleet operation needs. They bring vehicle data to the cloud and eventually to the operators’ IT backend.

What makes a great connectivity solution?

The most important feature of telematics solutions for connectivity through the cloud in shared mobility is its reliability. For operators, the worst-case scenario is the rental that never happened. Imagine you went through the effort of winning a new customer who then finds the vehicle they booked only to find they can’t open it due to a failed connection. You won’t lose revenue from just that one trip, you’ll likely lose the customer and possibly create a brand critic.

Secondly, a good connectivity solution should be vehicle-agnostic and offer a comprehensive variety of data from the vehicle. Vehicle-agnostic solutions let operators integrate any vehicle model into their fleets. Many fleets start with just one or two models of car, but their operators might at some future point want to integrate other car models, or even vans, mopeds or bikes within the same connectivity solution set-up. Also, the solution should provide operators with a huge variety of vehicle data to use in various operational business processes. Even if you start with basic information and commands such as battery charge level and unlocking doors, you might at some point want additional data such as the status of the soft-top on your convertible cars or information on driving behavior.

The connectivity solution should be easy to install and integrate smoothly into your tech stack for a quick setup. It should come with comprehensive documentation and professional support to guarantee the highest possible up-time and quick problem-solving. And last but not least, your connectivity solution should enable you to scale and grow. You should be able to add an unlimited number of vehicles and operate them reliably.

What does an operator need to consider when implementing a connectivity solution?

Choosing a connectivity solution for a shared mobility service is a fundamental business decision with far reaching impact. Changing to a different solution means a lot of effort and downtime for your fleet. Consequently, operators should not only consider the short term but look at making the long-term perspective as future-proof as possible.

What opportunities arise when using a dedicated connectivity solution?

The market currently includes a huge variety of telematic units and connectivity solutions for all kinds of applications. The concept of connecting cars for use cases like entertainment, maintenance procedures, or autonomous driving has been around for some time. At INVERS, we have always been focusing on the use case of sharing a vehicle. Consequently, our technology solves challenges that are specific to shared mobility.

Let’s take the electric vehicle charging process for example. For operators offering electric vehicles for sharing, it is important that the vehicle gets plugged in when a trip ends, so that the next customer can use a fully charged car. Our technology reads the charging status directly from the vehicle’s CAN bus and prevents customers from ending the trip if the car is not getting charged.

Advantages of sharing-dedicated connectivity solutions are also apparent when integrating convertibles into a fleet, for example. Operators want to make sure that the top is up when the trip is ended in these types of cars. Again, our technology finds the information on the CAN bus and you can include it in your rental process. Working with a connectivity solution dedicated to sharing means you benefit from a more advanced technology base built from experience with industry-specific challenges.

How do your customers benefit from the partnership between INVERS and Wunder Mobility?

Choosing sharing software from Wunder Mobility and connectivity solutions from INVERS results in a very short time to market for the operator who is setting up or expanding a sharing business. Both partners have many years of experience with shared mobility and provide customers with a proven, reliable and best-in-class solution. Wunder Mobility solutions are very well integrated with INVERS telematics, providing operators with all kinds of opportunities to build and customize customer experience.

What does the future of connectivity look like?

Connectivity will increasingly become commoditized. While many cars today require retrofitted telematics to be connected for specific use cases, more advanced telematics and connectivity solutions are starting to get embedded within the car manufacturing process. The new challenge will be to integrate the different APIs these telematics units provide into a standardized interface for operators.

At the same time, data is becoming increasingly important to inform and improve operational workflows and develop new business models. The more information operators receive at an early stage, the better and more efficient they can manage their operations. In addition, the more connected the vehicle is, the more flexible operators can switch between business models. For example, they could offer part of their sharing fleet to customers via a longer-term subscription model instead. However, this only works out with a reliable connectivity solution, so reliability becomes even more critical.

What are your top three pieces of advice for shared mobility operators to optimize their fleet utilization?

First: focus on reliable services. Make sure that you provide the right vehicle at the right place and time and make sure your service works perfectly, resulting in an excellent customer experience.

Second, use data and connectivity in a smart way to reduce operational overhead and guarantee smooth service. Make sure you do not need to send operational staff to get vehicles charged or find lost vehicles. Set up processes to organize maintenance and prevent downtime. And last but not least, find the right fleet balancing rhythm based on smart use of data and maybe with the help of third-party services providers.

Finally, think outside the box and see if it’s possible to make your assets available in different channels. Look at MaaS platforms for example. Explore complementary use cases by adding your vehicles to a subscription service, by enabling private use of corporate cars on week-ends, or by partnering with delivery services.

More about Invers:

Invers, inventor of automated vehicle sharing, enables mobility service providers to launch, operate and scale their offerings with integrated hardware and software solutions specifically designed for developers of shared mobility services. As the world’s first shared mobility technology company, Invers is developing and reliably maintaining the fundamental building blocks at scale to offer its customers cost-efficient and easily implementable tech solutions.

The company acts as an independent and reliable partner for operators of services such as car sharing, scooter sharing, ride pooling and car rental with the vision to make the use of shared vehicles more convenient and affordable than ownership. Customers include Share Now, Clevershuttle, Miles, Getaround, Flinkster, TIER, Bounce and Emmy. The company was founded in 1993 and has locations in Siegen, Cologne and Vancouver. The development takes place entirely in Germany.

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