Verizon, the largest child of AT&T's break up, is moving steadily into the connected car space. This week's telematics acquisition presages a couple possibilities: first, that the connected car space will start to consolidate around corporate powerhouses with the cash, scale, and regulatory chops to shape the industry.
Second, that a connected car as a cellphone-on-wheels may also have a phone booth equivalent, with many users and where the network, the device, and likely the content consumed are all served by a single company. Car infrastructure might just become a utility.
Third, with behemoths now in the field, that the window of a ground-breaking startup like Uber dominating the space is likely closed; instead, startups focused on feature development leading to acquisition may be the winning strategy.
Hot off the heels of its acquisition of Yahoo last week for $4.8 billion, today Verizon announced another huge purchase: it’s buying Fleetmatics, a telematics company based out of Dublin, Ireland, for $2.4 billion in cash, to build out the products that it offers to enterprises in the areas of logistics and workforces that are on the move. The deal will make Fleetmatics a part of Verizon Telematics, a subsidiary of the telco that focuses on fleet management, mobile workforce solutions and IoT. It’s part of a short spate of acquisitions that Verizon has been making lately to expand those operations: about six weeks ago, Verizon Telematics announced that it would acquire Telogis (financial terms undisclosed).