Interviews
21 Jan 19

Maurizio Iperti, LoJack: “Telematics enables customised mobility solutions”

The vehicle fleet and mobility ecosystem gets fully connected, with data mining as one of most promising focus areas for both suppliers and customers. Dedicated to the roll-out of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions is global specialist LoJack with headquarters in California. Maurizio Iperti is not only CEO of the Italian operations, he also has pan-European responsibilities regarding business development.

LoJack was already in existence before being taken over by B2B technology and telematics specialist CalAmp in 2016. It originally concentrated on the stolen vehicle sector with a presence in 30 countries. Over the past 30 years the company helped over 9 million people protecting their assets and vehicles from theft. Following the acquisition, LoJack now offers a wide variety of telematics solutions. The takeover also brings the consumer side of the business to the parent company.

Are you operating at a European or global scale?
We are operating globally, and especially in areas where security is an issue, such as some LatAm countries and South Africa, for example. In Europe, the UK, Italy and France have the most difficulties when it comes to experiencing attacks on car drivers, so a solution is very relevant here. The solution is also available in the Benelux, the Iberian Peninsula, Poland, Russia…

What other domains are you active in, other than stolen vehicle recovery?
More than 80% of the business is still in stolen vehicles, with over 240,000 subscribers in Italy alone. More than half of these are connected with rentals. Another 20,000 subscribers take up telematics solutions – long term rental, rent a car, dealers, insurers, carmakers… Italy is one of the most mature markets for telematics.

You have a brand called LoJack Connect – how does this differ from the other services?
It’s our umbrella brand. All of the different solutions come under LoJack Connect. For example, if we focus on rentals, and large fleets, LoJack Connect includes software and telematics services linked to company car sharing, supply chain integrity, rental solutions.

CalAmp is strong in B2B, and LoJack in retail. Will LoJack grow in B2B too?
B2B is already very important to LoJack. Our largest B2B customer is a dealer group called Penske which involves over 100,000 end users. These end users have LoJack services in the USA, Spain, Italy and other countries. As you say, CalAmp is strong in B2B and, for example, all the intelligence in Caterpillar vehicles is powered by CalAmp. The end user of the vehicle just recognises Caterpillar, not CalAmp. The same goes for AT&T and many others. The CalAmp brand is not seen.

How do you see the development of telematics services at LoJack?
It will be a combination of technology and customised service for B2B needs. There are three pillars: for the driver, the advantages are in terms of safety – with E-call – and service. The emergency call is driven by proprietary patented CrashBoxxTM technology that is best in class. Repairs are also better and more rapidly managed. For the fleet manager, relevant data is provided, such as fuel consumption. Fleet managers can then analyse driving style and other parameters. Fuel fraud can also be detected. For company car sharing, we provide an efficient management service replacing the physical work the fleet manager had to do. Where the owner is concerned, a major advantage is in a reduction in insurance costs and in mileage monitoring. This enables rental contracts to be renegotiated. Sometimes we provide the entire app, and sometimes the basic data for the client’s app or system.

Does your solution act proactively, predicting maintenance and so on?
Yes, and this is a good example of a service that can be further developed. At the moment customers need more down to earth data, data about the past and the present, and not so about the future status of the vehicle. Hence, it is not yet at the top of our list, but it will for sure follow on.

You said that through telematics use, you can stimulate lower insurance premiums. Are you working with insurance companies?
Absolutely. One case is a rental company working in the same group as their insurers. So, they are monitoring the results of using telematics. Step one is anti-fraud in accident reporting. The next step is crash management, producing a digital estimation of the cost of repairs. Based on that, small repairs will be managed by workshops without a physical damage estimate being made (and paid for). In other cases, a physical confirmation of the digital repair estimate is required. A third case is that when the damage is so high, the car is destroyed. All of these significantly reduces costs.

We are moving towards a car-use model instead of the old car-owning model. How important will telematics become for urban mobility?
A key player in the mobility revolution. Telematics will enable services to be forged around customer needs.  Companies are not looking for hardware any more, but are focusing on local solutions, on enabling services. As an example, opening a pool or shared car with an app rather than a badge makes managing the solution much easier. Telematics is an enabler of all this, it’s able to customise solutions.

From your global experience, how is Europe doing in terms of telematics and connectivity? Are we a leader?
We are in a leading position, but the technology is evolving so fast that in five years the innovation may be coming from China or the USA… But for the time being it seems that Italy and Europe have been taking more interest in this domain. There is increasing globalisation in the whole area though, so we cannot predict who will come up with the future technology.

Picture copyright: LoJack, 2019

 

Authored by: Steven Schoefs