International automotive technology provider ERM Advanced Telematics, whose products have been installed in more than 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, has launched the StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi, a versatile telematics product that integrates advanced vehicle tracking, driver behavior monitoring, theft prevention, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G cellular capabilities in a single device.
The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi is the first product under ERM's new Wireless Connect strategy, which aims to use wireless technologies to provide its partners – vehicle fleet management companies, vehicle manufacturers and importers and car insurance companies – with a competitive edge.
The StarLink Tracker is a modular solution that is designed for installation both in vehicles on the production line and in the aftermarket, for vehicles that have left the production line. The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi turns any vehicle in which it is installed into a Connected Car. The modularity of the product allows to add capabilities anytime, through the use of add-on products provided by ERM or by a third party. This can be done on demand and without any need to replace the StarLink Tracker device, which keeps functioning as the central tracking and communications unit under any such solution.
The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi took about a year to develop, and ERM Advanced Telematics has already received its first orders to supply the product from customers in the United States, India and Australia.
Part of the competitive edge that the new product offers rests on its extended wireless capabilities and on the mere fact that it is designed to be implemented in Connected Car applications. Until now, the installation of many telematics products for vehicle tracking, analysis of various situations and events and driver behavior diagnostics required wire hook-ups. The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi and products that ERM Advanced Telematics will launch in the future under its Wireless Connect strategy, can be installed using the installer's standard smartphone which communicates through Bluetooth connection in order to configure the product and perform any required adaptations. All this can be much faster compared to many other telematics devices and with much less hassle that might have arised due to the need to hook-up and hide wires.
In addition to various wireless capabilities that help track the vehicle and other telematics functions, the StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi is equipped with a microphone and loudspeaker to initiate and receive calls and dial emergency numbers. One application for this can be E-Call (Emergency Call), such as in the European Union or just as an Emergency Call application. When pressing the location unit's emergency button or immediately after an impact above a certain intensity, the unit will allows conversation between the vehicle's occupants and the emergency center personnel, who can hear what is happening in the vehicle and identify events such as threats against the driver or accidents.
The product will also provide information about the driver's behavior, including careless driving, accidents, off road driving, acceleration during turns, speed violations and more, information that can be used by the manager to significantly improve fleet management capabilities, performance and can decrease operational expenses.
The compact product (about 120 grams) also saves installation time and costs and creates Wi-Fi hotspots in the vehicle for up to eight devices. It features 4G cellular modem, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo location module and an ability to navigate inside underground parking lots or in mines; internal antennas, emergency button support and built-in data logger. Other capabilities are internal management of up to 500 driver ID's, remote immobilization, wireless connectivity to a wide range of additional ERM and third party products and many other features. As the core infrastructure for a Connected Car applications, the product can integrate to full range of the vehicle's internet connectivity needs, which are provided by the use of the tracking unit's SIM card without the need for any additional SIM card.
The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi's 4G capability will provide broadband communications for applications such as listening to online music, video consumption or surfing the web during the car ride. The product's Bluetooth capability will enable installers, drivers and end-users to connect mobile devices, receive information and set different configurations without the need for wires..
If required, it is possible to extend the solution which relies on the new product to also include CAN Bus interface and enable users to receive alerts on the information transmitted between the various sensors and the vehicle's computing units.
"One of our paramount objectives, to which we strive daily, is to provide our business partners over the globe with competitive advantages. As a leading company with unique perspective and more than 30 years' experience in the automotive field, ERM relies on its proven technological capabilities in order to provide these advantages to car manufacturers, car fleets' service providers, vehicle importers and other industry players. We help these players establish technological supremacy based on the ability to support wide range of functionalities, and deliver high performance and operating efficiencies in any market they operate in or intend to operate in," said Eitan Kirshenboim, CMO of ERM Advanced Telematics. "Our Wireless Connect strategy enables the industry to achieve these objectives simultaneously. The StarLink Tracker with Wi-Fi, as the pioneer product under this strategy, highlights this well. Alongside the product's impressive technological capabilities, its ability to support growing number of sensors and telematics applications while minimizing the installation time and cost, greatly helps our business partners."
Kirshenboim added: "a fleet management service provider who purchases a telematics solution, but pays much more only to install it in a long and complicated process, will find it difficult to achieve a competitive edge. To respond to these problems, the Wireless Connect strategy will strive to reduce the need to use wires during the installation process as much as possible, minimize the installation time and cost of vehicle telematics products, and generate added value to our customers and business partners."