Sprint takes wireless gear to auto industry
Tim Devaney / The Detroit News
Sprint, the nation's third largest cell phone carrier, is aligning its future with the automobile industry, company CEO Dan Hesse said Friday in Detroit.
Sprint is pushing wireless solutions that could turn the car into an entertainment center, connecting it to the Internet as well as electronics like the home computer, television, movies and music, Hesse told the Detroit Economic Club.
"The auto industry jumpstarted our industry," Hesse said. "The car phone added productivity and enjoyment to the driving experience."
About 4 percent of the nation's 250 million cars are connected, he said, giving Sprint a "huge opportunity" to tap the market. Hesse wouldn't say if the connectivity will be offered for free as part of the vehicle or on a subscription basis, but he did say Sprint is about two years away from it making a noticeable financial impact on the company.
"You want the sales people to be really fired up," Hesse said. "To have something really cool to show."
Hyundai Motor America's Blue Link program is launching in 2011. Aeris Communications is using Sprint's network to connect Blue Link consumer vehicles to safety, entertainment, productivity and convenience features.
PACCAR is also working with Sprint to connect commercial vehicles from its two subsidiaries with mobile computing, telematics and navigation. For Peterbilt, it's branded as SmartNav, and for Kenworth, NavPlus.
These systems will help improve fuel efficiency, Hesse said, because 6 percent of travel for fleet companies is "out of route" mileage. Delivery and transportation companies can communicate with each to make sure the closest driver is making the stops, and use GPS to make sure they don't get lost, he said.
"Six percent of any number is a big number," Hesse said.
From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110115/BIZ/101150326/Sprint-takes-wireless-gear-to-auto-industry#ixzz1BF7tY3QA