Friday, September 21, 2001

$20 million adds voice recognition to Nexiq arsenal

Published in Interface Tech News

MANCHESTER, N.H. ‹ A late August infusion of nearly $20 million from its investors and Manchester-based Sunrise Capital Parters led off a round of partnership announcements for telematics hardware and software company Nexiq. The first, with Salt Lake City-based Fonix, will add voice-recognition and text-to-speech software to Nexiq's in-vehicle framework for integration of electronic devices.

According to company spokesman Brian Payne, the framework allows connection of personal devices such as mobile phones and PDAs to be connected to a car, allowing access to the devices through displays on the dashboard and the console often found between the front seats.

Payne said telematics also allows electronic diagnostics to be performed from remote locations. While it is commonplace for cars to have electronic components and require attention from mechanics using special devices, it is not yet common for managers of corporate truck and car fleets to keep track of their vehicles' maintenance schedules while they are on the road.

Payne added that telematics can be somewhat like the On-Star system currently offered in GM's top-line automobiles, in which drivers can press a button and ask for directions from their location to a restaurant, gas station, or other destination.

In a report published by TechMall, USB Warburg analyst Saul Rubin predicted the rapid expansion of telematics services and devices in the near future. He said vehicle manufacturers will likely brand their own telematics services, but will outsource the building of hardware and software to support it.