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Vodafone mulls entry into automotive industry

Vodafone mulls entry into automotive industry

Snapshot: The British telecom giant will buy Italian car electronics maker, Cobra Automotive Technologies for 145 million euros.

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Global British communication giant, Vodafone is aiming to foray into the highly lucrative electronic services for the auto industry through a deal with an Italian car electronics maker. Vodafone has announced to buy out Cobra Automotive Technologies for 145 million euros, seeking to get ahead in the race to connect more everyday products to the internet and offset slowing growth in its core mobile phone business. 

Telecoms and technology firms are looking to tap an expected surge in demand for so-called machine-to-machine (M2M) communications - also known as the “Internet of things” -  to get products from cars and washing machines to turbines and medical equipment to carry out everyday tasks, more efficiently.

Vodafone’s intention is to get into the said machine-to-machine (M2M) industry in the automotive sector. It aims to connect devices from different industries like transportation, automotive, healthcare and energy. The company reckons that in the near future M2M will be a “great source of growth.” At the moment, only about 10 per cent of vehicles have in-built Internet connectivity and that number is expected to rise to more than 90 per cent by 2020, according to British consulting firm Machina Research. 

Cobra Automotive Technologies provides products aimed at improving car security, telecommunications and vehicle tracking for the automotive and insurance industries. “The combination of Vodafone and Cobra will create a new global provider of connected car services.” Erik Brenneis, director of MSM at Vodafone said. “We plant to invest in the business to offer our automotive and insurance customers a full range of telematic services.” Brenneis added.

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