The connected car continues to go global. Fresh off the announcement that one of its own in the family of GM vehicles (the Cadillac XTS) was named a winner of Connected World magazine Connected Car of the Year, OnStar has begun thinking global.
The company has been hinting lately at plans to take the OnStar, www.onstar.com, brand outside the areas in which it currently operates: the United States, Canada, and China. Yesterday it was announced OnStar will begin working with Telefónica Digital and Telefónica Multinational Solutions, www.telefonica.com, for plans to expand internationally. Although OnStar has not officially announced which countries to which it will expand, one would believe those in Europe would be high on the list.
With that in mind, the fact Telefónica operates an international GSM mobile standard network could point to expansion in Europe where the GSM network is in heavy use. OnStar currently operates on Verizon Wireless, www.verizonwireless.com, which uses CDMA, in the United States.
The in-vehicle system provider says it plans to use Telefónica's M2M automotive expertise to help it with the transition to international markets. Of course, OnStar offers a range of in-vehicle services, including automatic crash notification, emergency services, turn-by-turn navigation, and diagnostics, among others. But according to the agreement, the partnership could potentially lead to the development and creation of future offerings between the two companies in the coming years. It will be interesting to see which new developments begin to emerge from the partnership.
OnStar has been putting forth great efforts so far this year around the idea of expanding its services. Earlier in the year it was announced that OnStar will give selected developers access to a proprietary APIs (application program interfaces) to create mobile applications designed to interact with its suite of services.
The company has said its internal research of customers shows that things like emergency and security services are most important, as are navigation, vehicle information, and diagnostics. Perhaps these are some of the areas that OnStar will continue to enhance services going forward.
Global expansion in the auto market opens up new opportunities. Naturally when dealing with connectivity services, automakers have particular challenges with which to deal. OnStar’s partnership with Telefónica is a critical first step in addressing such challenges in international markets.