Anything worth doing, is worth doing properly; a mantra we’ve really taken to heart in Inmarsat’s first venture into the world of CES; the Consumer Electronics Show.
We attended the show this year to showcase our connected car proposition, something that we’ve been working on with a relatively small team for just over a year now, and in those 12 months a staggering amount has happened; we’ve taken the chrysalis of an idea through to a partnership with one of the world’s largest and leading automotive manufacturing specialists, Continental.
Continental is how we ended up at CES; pool-side (quite literally – the hotel removed walls and allowed us to drive our connected car – a huge Dodge RAM 1500 – straight through the lobby) at the Renaissance hotel in Las Vegas. The Inmarsat proposal, perfectly referred to as “updates from space”, has been a key element in Continental’s showcase to their OEM partners (OEMs are how the car manufacturers are referred to in this world) and has seen Inmarsat being talked about in meetings with the top 50 manufacturers by the Continental senior team.
After initial presentations, interested OEMs were shepherded down from the plush office space (Continental completely renovated a floor of bedrooms in the hotel to look like a high-end office, complete with new carpets, fresh paint and boardroom tables – a real sight to behold) to see live demonstrations inside the car.
Attendees were shown both the instrument cluster on the dashboard and the powertrain functionality of the vehicle being updated in real time via satellite. Mock-up antennas were also available to demonstrate the real form factor, a shark-fin, that all of the OEMs, and most of you that own cars, might be familiar with – yes, that’s right, we can fit a satellite antenna in one of those tiny enclosures on the top of a car.
After the demonstrations, we had further meetings with OEMs in our own Inmarsat meeting suite. The business development and commercial team really relished these meetings as a chance to build a solid contact base, pitch our capabilities, and take the opportunity to further our understanding of the auto market and eco-structure.
By day 2 of the show we had completed 30 demonstrations and the response was truly heartening. The OEMs that we’ve met have expressed real interest in considering this technology in their cars and we already have a long list of follow-up meetings.
If you’re interested in the actual technology involved, have a look at our microsite: www.inmarsat.com/connected-car.
About the author
Ewert is President, Inmarsat Connected Car Program, responsible for the overall strategy and development of this opportunity. Ewert joined Inmarst in 2013 as President, Inmarsat Enterprise where he was responsible for overall global business strategy and direction of the company’s Enterprise business unit. He has more than 25 years of senior executive leadership experience across a wide range of technologies in the telecommunications field and was recently elected as a Member of the Board of Directors for The Connected Vehicle Trade Association, Inc, the world’s largest and preeminent business league in vehicle communications.