27 jan 19

Nicola De Mattia,Targa Telematics: growing in a fast evolving market

Targa Telematics was founded in the early 90s and operates in the larger IT sector with Internet of Things and Connected Services. It has experience in developing IT systems and services, especially telematics services. CEO Nicola De Mattia explains the company’s success and its growth.

“Targa Telematics is part of the Internet of Things supply chain. We operate in different business verticals including car rental, corporate fleet, airport handling, construction machinery and insurance, so the automotive part is the most important one”, says Nicola De Mattia. “At the moment around 600,000 vehicles are connected with our systems and this involves fleet management and asset management solutions in particular. Around 95% of our connectivity market is indeed in automotive.”

Are you operating outside of Italy too?
Yes, most of our business is in Italy, but we connect vehicles in many countries, as our customers are international too. Ground support equipment (airport handling) brings us business on 4 continents, for example.

How important is B2B for you?
The whole of our business is B2B, and this makes us different from our competitors – most of which also work in B2C. We set our B2B policy around 15 years ago, focusing on fleets and on leasing companies. We serve all the major car rental companies in Europe. The major short term car rental and long term companies all have our systems to some degree. We provide them with asset management and asset value preservation services.

Do you also go directly to corporate fleets?
Yes, absolutely. We manage thousands of fleet cars directly. We serve the Italian postal fleet directly, for example, the largest fleet in Europe. Some of our clients may have a handful of vehicles, some thousands.

You also have a partnership with car manufacturer FCA?
We cooperate with several OEMs for technology and connectivity supply. It’s true we have a special relationship with FCA. In 2006 we acquired their telematics business. And today we are the provider of technology for FCA’s own B2B services platform, called Mopar Connect Fleet. This fleet management system offers an IoC (Internet of Cars) solution for the company fleet segment.

Are there opportunities for you in the transition to smarter mobility?
Yes, we are a major player in the car-sharing market and an enabler for new smart mobility services. Our technology is set to become a key enabler for companies in implementing new business models or in new ways of using their existing vehicles. We also believe that car rental companies will be major players in this transition, and we are already working with them on this. We receive requests to help them in their new mobility projects.

Presumably you have a growth strategy for the coming years as this whole evolution continues.
We see huge growth in front of us – the best is yet to come is what we always say! We are looking at what the right scenario for us will be in a complex market. We are looking at what the needs and expectations of the market are likely to be in the future, and how we can keep up the pace of growth. We have to continue to add value for our customers. We don’t ask our customers what they want, but what they do. Then we can see where we can be innovative for them.

Where is your competition coming from? Europe, Asia, Google, Amazon…?
This is a difficult question because many players are looking at this market. We are seeing giant companies without any experience approaching this market, obviously with the strength of their brand name behind them. They have more brand reputation than know-how in this market. The major IT players and those in the social network domain, along with the OEMs, we believe, will be strong in the B2C market for connectivity and telematics. When a private consumer wants an in-car system, he wants the same experience as with his smartphone, the same habits. But the supplier need to know how to approach the customer – and needs data analysis competences etc.

Every year in Europe around 15 million new cars are sold. You have equipped 600,000 – why is the penetration not yet higher in Europe?
Because any provider has to identify the right value to bring to the market. This value is different in different cases. For example, the most developed markets are Italy and the UK. In other countries, fleet management services are more important, and in the USA it is insurance which counts. Any supplier therefore has to find the right path.

A trend in telematics is predictive management – are there other trends emerging?
We see the development of the need to get more value out of telematics services. Fleet managers want to operate more efficiently, preserve vehicle value, increase safety. The key point is to integrate vehicle data into IT systems and applications used by companies, to improve the use of data and to see where change is appropriate. The whole organisation has to be ready for the digital transformation and we present ourselves as the right partner to manage all this process with the companies.

What are your ambitions for 2019?
To grow by around 50-60% compared to last year – and I believe we can achieve this. This is a good time for us, and we continue to look for what is coming next – there may be more surprises coming our way.

Picture copyright: Targa Telematics





Authored by: Steven Schoefs