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Verizon more bullish about telematics in APAC than anywhere else

The communications provider is eyeing opportunities such as India's booming automotive industry and other market segments opened up by the rising adoption of devices and rollout of networks.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Verizon Communications is betting it will see the strongest growth in its telematics business from the Asia-Pacific market, and is also eyeing the opportunities created by the region's technology adoption.

"We are more bullish in this region for telematics than anywhere else," said John Harrobin, CMO of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, who was speaking at the company's Verizon Day media forum here Wednesday.

Harrobin pointed to India as one key market, having emerged as one of the world's largest and fastest growing automotive industries. It is estimated to be the sixth largest globally, producing more than 3.9 million telematics units last year, according to the Business Standard.

Some areas which would involve telematics include onboard safety and entertainment, noted Harrobin. This could also have links to emergency services, maintenance systems, and in-car voice-based text messaging and information services.

Verizon is looking to leverage its US$612 million acquisition of Hughes Telematics to tap those opportunities, said Robert Le Busque, area vice president for strategy and enterprise development at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. The company in June announced plans to buy Atlanta-based Hughes, which specializes in automotive computer systems and has been aggressively moving to cover various communications verticals such as healthcare, home, and government.

In its second quarter earnings report in July, Verizon highlighted future growth would be driven by machine-to-machine connections, cloud services, and vertical offerings.

Opportunities from Asia-Pacific ICT adoption
Telematics is a key example of how Internet access is driving technology, said Harrobin, highlighting the region's increasing connectivity, rollout of 4G networks, and adoption of mobile devices. For example, there will be over 3 billion connected devices in China by 2016, double that in 2011, he noted.

Tapping those opportunities in this region will require an Asia-Pacific strategy, such as identifying the relevant market trends and characteristics, he said.

Harrobin cited how there were 477 million Internet users in China or about 35.6 percent of the country's population. This was nearly five times as many as India where less than 10 percent of the population had Web access, he noted.

Le Busque added that as more mobile networks are deployed and enhanced, people are no longer concerned about speed, but about the way they are connected and how devices are feeding information.

"Think about the U.S. elections four years ago. Back then the iPhone was still an infant and the iPad did not exist," he said, pointing to the rapid pace of technology change.

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