In an Automotive industry that is undergoing huge changes, the best telematics options for OEMs happen to be OBD dongles

Integration of telematics by OEMs is more challenging than ever. It is the right time to review the different alternatives and identify the most relevant choices for OEMs.

  1. Telecom standards are evolving faster than ever with 4G and its multiple categories, and the frequency bands and deployment schedules that differ per country. 5G, Wi-Fi evolutions, and associated technologies are going to make it even worse. Vehicle development cycles are getting more and more incompatible with first mount integration of telecommunication.
  2. The same goes for processors, memory, Bluetooth, and of course software platforms.
  3. To make it short, the big IoT revolution is boosting wireless technologies evolutions: we don’t count anymore in millions of units but in billions. The stakes are such that the innovation and technology changes are very likely to accelerate. Annual motor vehicles production is slowly growing but still below 100 million (~90 million vehicles per year in 2014), which means OEMs’ impact on the telecom technology evolutions and life cycle will decrease; they will have to adapt to even faster changes and more complex technologies.
  4. To solve this problem, OEMs tend to offer more and more Smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink), with a major risk of losing part of the control of the connected eco system. In these solutions, the dashboard tends to become a remote control of the Smartphone.

Smartphone integration only solves part of the problem.

Indeed, for driver connected infotainment, Smartphone integration seems the best choice.

But for vehicle data collection or driver behavior analysis, which must work in any condition, whether the driver’s Smartphone is connected to the vehicle or not and running the proper apps, having the appropriate data plan… it is not the right solution. The requirements for this type of telematics are slightly different than for driver infotainment: there is no or little interaction with the driver, no need for in-vehicle display, voice recognition, but there is a strong need to interaction with the vehicle electronics, through CAN or other similar vehicle buses.

For this type of requirement, the challenging evolution of wireless technologies remains the same, which should lead to the adoption of add-on solutions instead of first mount. The need to deeply interact with vehicle electronics calls for a “network” connector in every vehicle.

There is, today, one obvious answer to this. This is the OBD port, present in all vehicles and partly standardized, and the emerging OBD dongles using this plug are getting more and more popular.

OEMs are reluctant towards OBD dongles, which can be easily understood : through the OBD plug, independent companies could potentially deeply interact with vehicles out of the control of OEMs – provided they have the deep knowledge of protocols and electronic specifications for each vehicles. By chance, the required information is hardly accessible and vary from one vehicle to another. But OEMs have access to this information concerning their own models.

Rather than be wary of this type of solution, OEMs should adopt them and control them: by adding this type of devices in their vehicles, they could control what is made available to third parties and even sell the precious vehicle data, while using this data for their own purposes and the benefit of their ecosystem:

  • remote diagnostic and prognostic
  • road side assistance
  • monetize user and car data
  • car sharing and car pooling
  • remote vehicle inspection
  • driver scoring and UBI
  • affinity marketing, rewards and coupons
  • remote software updates (avoiding recalls) etc.

The flexibility of OBD dongles enables the faster emergence of telematics ecosystems and application stores.

And since software solutions will interact with add-on devices instead of interacting directly with vehicles, these OBD dongles offer a quicker access to multiple application developers.

Last but not least, OBD Dongles, combined with video and Lidar recorders can also provide the right data collection tools to build the records of data needed for autonomous vehicle algorithms development.

Since 2002, Mobile Devices has developed a Universal Telematics Platform for ALL Telematics verticals:

  • An embedded operating system supporting the fast development and execution of any logic in the devices
  • A server software & infrastructure for managing the devices and connecting ANY back end solution with the embedded logic
  • The tool chain for developing and deploying applications both embedded and server based
  • A portfolio of telematics devices including the popular C4Dongle OBD

Interested to know more ? You can have a look at, or send a query at