DETROIT -- General Motors is leveraging its OnStar connectivity in a new way for fleet customers interested in having their vehicles help them become more efficient while conducting business.
GM inked an agreement with geo-productivity software maker MapAnything -- part of the Salesforce Ventures investment group -- to integrate automated business solutions into its connected cars sold in fleets to businesses and corporations.
According to MapAnything CEO John Stewart, the company is connecting its cloud computing network, MapAnything Live, directly to GM OnStar systems inside vehicles and then taking real-time vehicle data and location services to provide a smoother workflow and give sales representatives more time to meet with clients.
MapAnything expects the service to be in 5,000 fleet vehicles in its first 12 months.
According to a survey conducted by MapAnything, nearly one-third of sales managers estimate their representatives spend less than half their time selling, because of time lost to scheduling, routing and commuting to customer meetings.
MapAnything Live connects the GM fleet vehicle to Salesforce.com directly, so that the sales representative won't have to spend time inputting information on Salesforce as the car will create the record for them.
"We've lowered the workload for the individual representative," Stewart said. "If this is field service, we know when they've arrived onsite of the client so we can change the status of the work order, we can start a timer, and when they leave the client, we can compare the data in Salesforce and figure out whether or not to automatically create an invoice."
Using the technology, MapAnything Live can also enable geo-productivity intelligent routing and scheduling based on Salesforce and telematics data to make routes and days more efficient.
While telematics has been in cars for a long time, Stewart said that GM and MapAnything are using them differently by connecting fleet vehicles and working to improve business practices.
"Traditional telematics have always been a separate system and have always been focused around safety and compliance and cost reduction," Stewart said. "We can do those things too, we're just doing them inside Salesforce while taking the next step in saying, 'Let's drive revenue, let's give our customers a better customer experience, let's reduce our back-office workload,' and that's what's new about this approach."
Stewart said that MapAnything has done this before in vehicles by using third-party telematics devices, a common approach by many others. But he said the company saw a better opportunity to work directly with an automaker.
"GM is the leader in the connected-car space," Stewart said. "They've been doing connected car even before it was called connected car, with their OnStar platform. It was a natural fit to try to partner with them to make it seamless to integrate and connect GM vehicles to Salesforce.com. It's leveraging what already exists in GM vehicles, but using this data in a nontraditional telematics way."
Steve London, a senior manager of GM business development, said the automaker has focused on connectivity in cars for a long time and has been looking for more ways to bring services like this to GM fleet customers. GM said last month that it added AT&T connected-car data plans for business customers including data pooling, unlimited data and corporate billing.
"When we take a look at GM's position on this, GM made the decision to equip all of its vehicles with connectivity a little while ago, so all of the models 2015 and above have this kind of communication embedded in," London said. "We've been doing that for a while and have an available market out there in the millions of vehicles."
According to GM, the automaker has more than 5 million 4G LTE connected vehicles on the road and more than 12 million customers are connected by OnStar.
London said no new hardware or software would need to be installed in the vehicles. Once the consumer subscribes to the service, MapAnything's technology can be plugged into vehicle's OnStar system.
"In-vehicle 4G LTE is fueling double-digit annual growth in the multibillion-dollar market for fleet management software, and it's helping Chevrolet and OnStar win new business. We are expanding our relationships with technology companies because customer interest is so high," Ed Peper, GM's vice president of fleet and commercial sales, said in a statement. "The reasons are simple and compelling. Inside the data streams are the critical insights fleet managers need to help their drivers stay safe and productive, and their operating costs as low as possible."
MapAnything was founded in 2009 and has nearly 2,000 customers globally. The agreement between GM and MapAnything comes four months after MapAnything raised $33.1 million in February.