In short, the OBDII connected device has proven itself as the primary device for UBI products and services for the following reasons:

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1 Insurance Telematics US Market Data Collection Analysis Aftermarket OBD II device vs. the Smartphone and the OEM Connected Platform By: Tim Morris, Mike Carroll, Nate Bryer Executive Summary: The Insurance Telematics market in the United States is growing and maturing at a rapid pace. As with any new product, part of the maturation process is to become more efficient and cost effective without impacting service levels. It has long been thought that the two most costly features of a Usage Based Insurance (UBI) program are the monthly data charges and the physical device used to capture the data. In the U.S., the primary means for collecting data for UBI programs is by using an aftermarket OBDII device that has an embedded cellular modem for transmitting data. Insurance companies are looking at leveraging two distinct alternatives to the OBDII device the smartphone and the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) connected platform. While these alternatives present interesting and even compelling options for reducing costs, the vast majority of the market will continue to be served by OBDII devices well beyond This paper will focus on the shortcomings of smartphones and OEM integrated telematics as a means of supporting the collection and transmission of data for UBI programs. In short, the OBDII connected device has proven itself as the primary device for UBI products and services for the following reasons: OBD II devices vs. OEM integrated telematics based vehicle generated data OBDII connected devices provide access to the broadest amount of multi OEM vehicle information, and are not limited to the complexities of a particular OEMs fixed infrastructure OBDII connected devices have a significantly shorter product development and manufacturing lifecycle, when compared to the long lead times associated with OEM integrated telematics OBDII connected devices have a higher percentage of recognizable market share in vehicles on the road OBD II devices vs. smartphone generated data OBDII connected devices provide a platform for complementary vehicle based services, since they are directly connected to the vehicle and can collect vehicle specific information OBDII connected devices provide the most secure, consistent and accurate data, since they communicate directly with the vehicle for critical vehicle parameters including speed, engine RPM, etc. OBDII connected devices have a lower total cost of operational support, since they do not have the complexity associated with the variety of smartphones and are not limited to user know how. Danlaw, Inc Page 1

2 Issues with using the Auto OEM connected platform as a source of data Lifecycle & Vehicle Age There are as many as 40 automotive OEM s supplying vehicles in the United States and 216 internationally. The average development lifecycle takes two to four years, a car line is produced for three to seven years, and the median age of a car is 10.8 years (Source: June 2013, motorintelligence.com). Therefore the typical automobile is driving around with technology that is over 15 years old. Although the automobile development lifecycle has been steadily decreasing, the average cost of new vehicles is on the rise, while the average age of existing operational vehicles has increased due to global economic pressures. This has produced an increase in repair and aftermarket offerings akin to the housing remodeling industry, as vehicle owners endeavor to maintain their investment. Market footprint and growth Market facts: Total Number of Cars & SUVs on the Road 381,162,842 1 Total Number of Cars & SUVs with OBDII 245,796,077 Light Duty Trucks 10,203,655 Heavy Duty Trucks (class 4 and up) 4,975,437 In the U.S. there are approximately 380 million vehicles on the road and an estimated 250 million of them have OBDII ports. There are over 30,000 makes/models since OBD was implemented in The U.S. consumption of new cars has increased to 15 million per year. In the next ten years, assuming the automobile market will continue to grow at its current pace, there will be around 300 million vehicles with OBDII ports on the road. Even if today all manufacturers agreed to implement and conform to a standard by which all new vehicles communicated all of the relevant information for driver scoring and synchronized their complementary services offerings, these new cars would only displace half of the market by Therefore leaving approximately 150 million cars available for services to be provided by aftermarket connected vehicle electronics in the same timeframe. Mandated Automotive Standards While there have been many attempts to create open standards for non emissions related vehicle data, it appears unlikely that there will be a consensus among the world s automotive OEMs for conformance to such a standard. In order for this to happen, there would need to be an agreement on the components of a standard by all of the 216 global automotive OEM s. Historically, this has never happened on a global level. 1 1 Source: U.S. Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics, annual review Danlaw, Inc Page 2

3 Automotive OEM s generally shun standards because they can be costly to implement, and tend to increase the development lifecycle of new product offerings. Additionally, non safety related standards generally do not help to sell more new vehicles. Any jointly non emissions related agreed upon standard would have to cover all of the components that every market requires. This would require a complicated set of variables in addition to what is already provided within the existing emissions standards. The new data elements that would require standardization would include such items as odometer, acceleration in three planes, crash detection, fuel consumption, coolant temperature, battery levels, gyroscope readings, GPS location and door unlock. It took government intervention for the automotive OEMs in the U.S., EU and Japan to start using the current set of OBD standards for standardized emissions testing, therefore it is unlikely that they would adhere to new standards for non emissions data, without the collaborative efforts of global government encouragement. It s important to note that even if the U.S. government states today that they are going to push for these new standards the normal standardization process can take up to a decade before it is approved by all of the stakeholders and transformed into an SAE standard. Based on insights on how the current leaders in government cannot even agree on balancing a budget, it is unlikely that they are ready to state that they are prepared to start declaring new standards for non emissions related vehicle data any time soon. For the sake of argument, assuming that the U.S. government was ready to start pushing for standards today, the best case scenario would result in the new standards being implemented in the new car development lifecycle beginning in Cars in development during 2023 will begin hitting the market in 2025, therefore the new automotive OEM standards, that include UBI type variables, would not be on the road until Meanwhile, the addressable 300 million plus vehicles without this fictitious offering would still be on the road, keeping their critical vehicle data to themselves. Are automotive OEMs completely against standards? No. Nearly every automotive OEM has implemented internal standards for critical design criteria, including: vehicle network communication strategy, mechanical design and manufacturing processes, as well as standard tools and processes for diagnostics and vehicle maintenance. These internal standards allow OEMs to simplify design and development processes, thereby reducing cost and complexity, which improves efficiency, reliability and profitability. Without these internal standards, automotive OEMs could not create programs such as Onstar and Sync. These programs could be used to provide limited subsets of data to insurance companies, but it is erroneous to assume that these services will not cost anything. Data is not free. The automotive OEM s have sensed that the data collected by their systems has a value, and they are working on various business models where they can monetize this data. The challenge comes when a company or consortium of companies requires this data from multiple OEMs in a common format. Regardless of whether there will be multiple standards (one for each OEM) or a single standard that each OEM adheres to, there will still be a costly and complex task of integrating data feeds, platforms, protocols and interfaces from 40 different automotive OEMs, that would prove limiting. Danlaw, Inc Page 3

4 Issues with the using smartphones as a means of data collection The smartphone market has had many ever changing Operating Systems It is well understood that smartphones have been rapidly gaining market share over the years. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the market will see a year over year increase in smartphone purchases as mobile phone vendors are estimated to ship more than 1.7 billion handsets this year and more than 2.2 billion devices by With the increase in smartphone purchases, the market has seen a corresponding increase in the operating systems upon which these smartphones are based. The table below highlights the smartphone OS market share predictions as noted by IDC. Added to the complexity of the variety of smartphone operating systems is the wide range of manufacturers of smartphones, which based on the information below, appears to have a high degree of variability in market share based on the ebbs and flows of consumer purchasing behavior. Danlaw, Inc Page 4

5 Historically Dynamic Smartphone Platform Market Not everyone uses a smartphone The irony of all of this smartphone hype is that there is still a very large percentage of the total market that is comprised of feature phones (over 50% in 2012) which offer no means of support for an application for a UBI or PAYD program, as seen in the plots below.: Smartphone functionality is fractured and inconsistent across Operating Systems The dilemma created by the variety of smartphone operating systems and their fractured functionality is that it creates a significant challenge to any insurance company attempting to create a smartphone based Danlaw, Inc Page 5

6 UBI/PAYD solution. The following list highlights the challenges facing the smartphone based approach: No single application can cover all of the different phone types and operating systems. o Within the Android OS market, there are dozens of phone types, multiple OS versions with multiple variations of firmware being actively used. o The ios market is slightly better, but not by much there are currently 4 phone types and 7 different versions of ios being actively used. The hi mix ratio of features and phone types creates a complex testing and implementation challenge to the development, deployment and support of a smartphone based solution. The cost of customer calls to support questions with phone issues is high in terms of customer good will and the number (and skill set) of staff required to be able to answer all questions in a timely and knowledgeable manner. Smartphone generated data can be inconsistent and unreliable An application on a smartphone that is developed and implemented to capture driving data, will be required to overcome a number of significant obstacles in order to retrieve data that is of a high enough level of quality to be used to rate someone s driving. A few examples of these obstacles are listed below. Calibration before any data can be collected, the application must know its orientation in the vehicle. This requires a calibration of its x, y & z axis so that correct readings can be made to account for forward & reverse, up & down and side to side movements. This can be accomplished either by requiring the phone to be in a cradle or docking station to ensure little to no movement during calibration or by auto calibrating after any sudden or large movements. Due to variations in location and movement, neither solution will likely produce consistent results 100% of the time. If the calibration is not completed prior to the start of a trip then either a portion of the trip or possibly all of a trip may be captured incorrectly. New phones hitting the market with built in gyroscopes may help to alleviate some of the calibration issues, but not all of them. Missing data/trips a smartphone based tracking application will not be able to collect 100% of all trips taken. This is because of four primary reasons. 1. The smartphone is not in the vehicle being driven. Studies have shown that most people will not leave home without their mobile phone; however this does not mean that this is true 100% of the time. Instances will arise when someone forgets their phone, and it is not in the car to collect the data. A smartphone left at home does not collect driving data. 2. Smartphones die. Smartphones are known for their lack of battery use efficiency. Generally a user can get one or two days of use out of a smartphone before it shuts down and needs to be charged again. Many things determine the drain on a smartphone s battery, and it is well known that GPS enabled applications tend to accelerate battery drain. A vehicle tracking application would need to use the GPS extensively and thus would severely Danlaw, Inc Page 6

7 reduce the amount of time between required charging. Plugging the phone into a car charger could alleviate this issue, but not everyone keeps a car charger with them or uses it consistently. A smartphone that is dead does not collect driving data. 3. Smartphones get shut off. Many people shut off their phones, whether it be to limit driver distraction, or because it is requested of them at their current location (i.e. church, concert halls, school functions, government building, etc.). Most people remember to turn their phones back on, but not always. A smartphone that is turned off does not collect driving data. 4. Smartphone application is not running while driving. Before any data can be collected, the application must be started. This will be accomplished either by the application starting automatically based on GPS movement or by requiring a user to manually start and stop the application. Auto starting does provide a slightly higher collection rate of trips data compared to an application that must be manually started, however even an auto started application must be turned on initially and after every operating system reboot. In either case, it is unreasonable to depend on the smartphone application to be running for all trips. A smartphone application that is not running does not collect driving data. Incorrect data collected A smartphone application that has been calibrated correctly and is running can still be plagued with collecting data in error. There are many instances where a user will be moving in a manner that looks similar to a trip, however it is not actually a trip. Here is a list of a few of these instances: being a passenger instead of driving, driving a tractor, riding a bus, riding a horse, driving a motorcycle, riding a bicycle, riding a train, taxiing in a plane, riding a moped, scooter or ATV. This list is in no way exhaustive, but it does illustrate the many activities that would require an option for allowing users to be selective in which trips are tracked if the application was collecting trip data automatically. While not optimal, manually starting an application could be used to overcome this issue. A smartphone application that cannot determine that it is the driver s vehicle, does not collect relevant driving data. User annoyance of all the issues, this is probably the hardest to overcome. Despite insurance companies attempts at getting consumers to think that insurance is not a commodity product, that is in fact how most people treat it. They want the cheapest product that is the easiest to obtain and maintain. Being tracked to obtain a cheaper rate is a hard pill to swallow for some consumers, but many are willing if the inconvenience factor is low. Being required to manually start an application at the beginning of every trip and stopping it at the end would be considered inconvenient. Being required to charge the smartphone considerably more often due to an application running constantly is inconvenient. Seeing tracked trips that are not from driving the insured vehicle affecting the driving score is inconvenient. Any one of these inconveniences could be enough to cause a customer to turn off the smartphone application and decide that this type of tracking is not Danlaw, Inc Page 7

8 worth a discount on insurance. They might even be so annoyed as to switch companies and tell their friends and family about their bad experience. A smartphone application that annoys the customer and causes the customer to turn off the application, does not collect driving data, and will create a bad customer experience. Smartphone produced data must pass the exhaustive rigor of insurance regulators With all the above reasons on why smartphone based applications create gaps and inconsistencies in data, insurance regulators are hesitant to embrace them as a valid and accurate means of collecting driving behavior data for rating purposes. Regulators have expressed concerns over the use of smartphones as being a critical source of data for an insurance product s rating plan. Some of these concerns are listed below. Fairness State regulators are keen on the idea of fairness. Insurance companies that offer a UBI product that requires the insured to have a smartphone will not pass the fairness test, as there are many drivers who do not possess a smartphone and therefore could not take advantage of the same benefits that a smartphone owner could. Data Reliability & Validity State regulators are very sensitive to the reliability and validity of the data which is collected in a behavior based rating program. As mentioned earlier, smartphone based data collection is problematic, which severely affects its credibility as a rating source. Fraud Both state regulators and insurance carriers are concerned about the potential fraud and gaming associated with hacking of smartphone based applications. Fraud and gaming completely undermine the viability of the data collected by smartphone applications for UBI programs. Why OBD II units prevail in the market The proof is in the pudding. The insurance companies with the largest number of vehicles involved in a UBI program employ highly proprietary solutions that have dedicated and secure connections between the insured s vehicle and their back office. This dedicated connection, utilizes a proven hardware solution that is installed directly in the insured s vehicle OBDII diagnostic port. The dedicated hardware based approach ensures the following critical demands that state insurance regulators and insurance carriers require: Fairness Regardless of vehicle type, usage and demographic, all insured drivers under the program which leverages an OBDII hardware based solution, are measured the same. Highly Reliable The OBDII hardware based solution ensures the vehicle to insurance carrier connectivity that is required to get the data from the vehicle to the insurance carrier in a timely manner. Highly Secure The OBDII hardware based solution eliminates the potential for fraud and gaming, Danlaw, Inc Page 8

9 as it is a highly proprietary system which relies on a direct connection to the insured s vehicle. In addition to benefits for insurance rating purposes, there are other key benefits of an OBD II based solution over smartphone or OEM based solutions. Minimum of support required to enable an insured with an easy to use, dependency free solution that has no limitation based on smartphone capabilities and the phone s owner s ability to use their phone. No dependency on a volatile and disjointed smartphone market. The data coming from the OBDII port is fairly ubiquitous, thus ensuring a high rate of access to an increasing amount of vehicle information from multiple OEM s. A significantly shorter product development and manufacturing lifecycle. A higher percentage of recognizable market share in vehicles on the road. Complementary services. In summary, the use of smartphone technology as a primary means of data collection, processing and transmission for a UBI/PAYD insurance program, is problematic at best. Leveraging data directly from an auto OEM connected platform is not available today across a vast percentage of the existing vehicles on the road. It has been proven that a solution based on proprietary and dedicated hardware, which installs directly in the insured s vehicle OBDII diagnostic port, provides a superior solution and manages the complexity of the program needs, as well as ensures the approval of insurance state regulators of telematics based UBI and PAYD programs. Other factors to consider with regards to leveraging an OBDII device for data collection: Price Reduction (Moore s Law) Aftermarket Development Lifecycle Complementary Services Price Reduction of aftermarket device and telecommunication costs In computing, Moore s law states that the number of circuits that can be placed on a chip doubles every 18 months. What this means is, the amount of computing power you can buy for a dollar has roughly doubled every 18 months, for decades. As technical performance capabilities increase in an electronic device, there is a related decrease in cost of that device. Similarly, the cost per megabyte of cellular data consistently drops over time, and has dropped substantially in the last 2 years. These trends will continue and offer exponentially more opportunities to connect things to the grid. For example, a company called Vitality makes a pill bottle with a cellular modem to alert caregivers as to usage. Danlaw, Inc Page 9

10 Insurance telematics is in its infancy but maturing quickly, and the costs and business models are already producing favorable results. As it scales to address the full market potential, the sheer volume will force component and manufacturing costs down making it even more attractive. The integration of OBDII devices to cell phones via Bluetooth will progress slowly, and could eventually reduce the dependence on dedicated cellular connectivity in the OBD device. However, there is a tradeoff. Not having a cellular modem in the device requires supporting millions of different handsets and their specific operating system and Bluetooth version. This support may prove to be more costly than a dedicated cellular interface. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity to a phone, there is also a great potential in the ability for leveraging ubiquitous Wi Fi to connect devices. However, as with cell phones and Bluetooth, there will more than likely be a dramatic increase in support costs. In order to maximize benefits and coverage, a strategy that takes all of these options into account is recommended. Aftermarket Development Lifecycle Unlike the automotive OEM market development lifecycle, the aftermarket electronics development lifecycle runs at a staggeringly quick pace of innovation. As witnessed in the smartphone market, devices become obsolete in 2 to 3 years simply due to rapid advancement in technology. Prices remain low and continue to drop despite high consumer demand, thus proving out Moore s law. Furthermore, the innovation around the ability to create and deploy applications is keeping pace with that of consumer electronics. Together, they are a platform that will be leveraged for insurance related services. Complementary Services There is only one OBDII port in a vehicle providing access to a wealth of information, and only one device can be plugged into the port at a time. The OBD port is the gateway, and hence the key in the battle to own the automotive consumer. Many revenue generating services could benefit from this information. There are quite a few small companies that provide OBDII devices with corresponding services, but it is the auto insurance industry that is starting to leverage the OBDII port and its associated data in a fairly large way. Insurance companies are not generally known for their dynamic business innovation, however they are always looking for new ways to evaluate and calculate risk. Thus, data generated directly from a vehicle via the OBDII port is a new area that was previously unavailable and seldom explored. This new source of data has the potential of giving auto insurance carriers new opportunities for segmentation and other rating refinements. In addition to basic driver risk scoring, insurance companies are beginning to determine how they can offer complementary services that leverage much of the data and capabilities that an OBDII device provides. This new direction may well prove to be one of the most strategic decisions as companies vie for the consumers attention within the car. At the very least, establishing revenue generating relationships with third parties Danlaw, Inc Page 10

11 that can mine subsets of the data would be advisable. Specific automotive information across a broad range of vehicle manufacturers will open the door to a host of new services. This is not the realm of telecommunications companies, but rather automotive electronics companies. The complexity, protocols, timing, standards, and safety issues need to be vetted by experts. Below is a list of services that could be easily implemented with the right automotive engineering knowledge. Roadside Assistance Text Disablement Vehicle Service Reminder Vehicle Diagnostics Loyalty Programs based on driving behavior and location Fixed Fuel Price Guarantees Teen Monitoring Accident Reconstruction Theft Recovery Accident Notification Driver identification Traffic Patterns Weather Condition Notifications Calendar and Appointment Synchronization Social Networking and proximity Each of these services has a mobile application component, but in most cases would require a device connected to the vehicle to provide the underlying vehicle information. OBDII devices will prevail for the near term. What about the long term? Because of the issues stated above regarding automotive OEM standards and lack of data integrity of smartphone based applications, the OBDII device will remain the primary option for insurance carriers in the U.S. for obtaining vehicle and driver behavior data for the foreseeable future. For the long term though, device and data plan costs are driving insurance carriers to seek cheaper, but not necessarily easier, solutions. Some of these cheaper solutions include temporary placement of the devices in vehicles. This is a viable option for reducing costs for a pure UBI program, however the temporary use of an OBDII device will severely limit the ability to provide value added services. In the long term, there will eventually be a meeting of the minds and technologies between wireless carriers, automotive OEMs and insurance carriers, to produce a solid platform that can be enabled at point of sale whether that point of sale be the vehicle, the smartphone or the insurance policy. This platform will supersede the need for an Danlaw, Inc Page 11

12 OBD II device. Until that day though, the OBD II device provides a valuable and necessary function within the insurance telematics ecosystem. Danlaw, Inc Page 12

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