Telematics Detroit: Connected Cars Move from Niche to Mainstream


Talk of telematics is no longer only for professionals specializing in the development of autonomous vehicles or vehicles equipped with Internet access. At the Telematics Detroit Conference in June, it’s clear the conversation has moved to all levels across the automotive industry.

“This event has been going on for 14 years and has evolved each year with the (telematics) industry,” says Gareth Ragg, director of the event to be held June 4-5 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. “We’ve gone from the concept of telematics and the promise of telematics to it being a reality. The connected car is here.”

Ragg says he expects more than 2,000 people to attend the event, which will include more than 100 speakers from the industry. Presentations will cover how to give connectivity a purpose, the future of advanced safety, and how to engage customers with connectivity-enabled touch points.

The addition of an hourlong panel — during which executives including Phil Abram, chief infotainment officer of General Motors Co., and Tim Yerdon, director of Visteon, will discuss mobility in a connected era — is reflective of the connected car’s gaining momentum. “Connectivity (the use of Internet in cars) has been a niche discussion within the automotive industry, and now it’s in the boardroom. It’s now part of the overall strategy for carmarkers,” Ragg says.

A major topic will likely be the recent introductions of Google Open Automotive Alliance and Apple CarPlay, which allows users to make calls, use maps, and access messages without actually touching their iPhone, Ragg says. “It’s certainly driving a lot of talk out there in the industry right now. The automakers and OEMs are (asking), ‘If everybody starts to have a Google or Apple system in their car, how do they differentiate themselves?’ ” he says.

For more information or to register for the two-day event, visit