06 February 2002
IBM lands piece of car-to-Web action
Auto parts giant Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. awarded IBM a contract to supply it with "telematics" software that will link cars to the Internet and other networks.
IBM will gain revenue each time a Delphi-made telematics device goes in a new car, the companies said. The computer giant may also gain sales in computer services, maintenance, and servers, said Raj Desai, director of IBM Telematics Solutions.
Telematics, or what Delphi calls mobile multimedia systems, combines wireless communications links with microprocessors and software inside each vehicle to connect it to networks outside.
Telematics can determine a vehicle's location using global positioning system satellites, automatically call for help after a collision, provide traffic alerts, and connect to the Internet for services and entertainment or to hear or dictate e-mail. A November report by Roland Berger & Partners GmbH estimated 2001 global telematics sales of $1.3 billion and the 2010 market total at $24 billion.
"The market forecasts are all over the place, but the numbers are big," Desai said.
Software licensed to Delphi is IBM's J9 Java Virtual Machine, which would embed in each telematics product. Because the software is Java-based, the devices can connect to many outside software applications running on many kinds of servers.
IBM won the contract after Delphi tested the Java Virtual Machine software of several companies, said Robert Schumacher, Delphi's general manager of mobile multimedia systems.
Delphi sales in such mobile systems totaled $373 million in 2001, Schumacher said, adding, "We expect growth in 2002."
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