Melbourne-based Connexion Media has struck a deal with Oracle, giving the ASX-listed automotive software maker access to Oracle’s infrastructure, CRM platform and 15,000-strong salesforce.
For Connexion chief executive George Parthimos, it’s the latest in a string of deals designed to put the small Australian outfit at the heart of the transformation unfolding in the automotive space.
Connexion’s technology is powering General Motors’ vehicle management service Commercial Link, which went live this week, and Mr Parthimos said that while the GM deal validated Connexion’s technology, the partnership with Oracle opens up a global marketplace.
“We had a discussion with Oracle around what sort of support we needed and there were three areas that caught our attention. We were interested in the Oracle Cloud solution that had a few bits and pieces (particularly around real-time analytics) that made a lot of sense for connected devices,” Mr Parthimos told The Australian.
“We also had a chat about how Oracle could assist us in selling our solution globally through their channels and that really grabbed our attention.
“The third part for us is around the ability to on sell the vehicle data and analytics that we collect while people use our services.’’
Connexion’s fortunes are intrinsically tied to its ability to monetise the data it collects and Mr Parthimos said the partnership would look to build a module on Oracle’s platform.
“As an early stage business, to be able to partner with a company the size and scale of Oracle is really a no-brainer for us,” he said.
The partnership is equally important for Oracle as it looks to sharpen its offering for the connected world and the head of the IT giant’s Australian operations Tim Ebbeck said it was another meaningful step in Oracle’s transformation into cloud business.
“We have worked very hard to reposition Oracle as a business that’s easy to do business with and make the leap into the cloud head on,’’ Mr Ebbeck said.
“We have invested heavily in our cloud business and are principally leveraging our core strength in data — how organisations use it and secure it better,” he added.
“The work we are doing with Connexion is similar to what we are doing with (Sydney-based fintech hub) Stone and Chalk, helping young companies take advantage of everything that our platform offers.’’
Mr Ebbeck was also keen to point out Oracle’s global clout, which opens doors for outfits like Connexion. But it was not a one-way street, he said.
“The vibrancy of working with an organisation like Connexion is important to Oracle and the cultural shift that we are trying to bring to our business,” he said.|
With data the new currency, Connexion’s core technology is built to provide fleet operators and vehicle owners the ability to track things such as fuel consumption, speed, geolocation and driver behaviour.
This information is then analysed and made available for vehicle maintenance, performance testing and fleet management.
It is one cog of the automotive industry that’s now as much about software as it’s about horsepower.
“We are gathering a lot of raw data generated by the vehicle in real time and that will be sent into the Oracle Cloud,” Mr Parthimos said.
The real magic, however, doesn’t lie in storage or raw processing. It’s about making it meaningful and delivering it to customer dashboards as effortlessly as possible.
Using Oracle also helps Connexion simplify its infrastructure needs, reducing its need to run more servers, provision more storage and contingencies.
“The total cost of ownership is reduced, not just because of the lower costs associated with storage and servers but also because of the reduction in the complexity of the system,” Mr Parthimos said.
Oracle’s real-time analytics platforms will now serve as a testing ground for Connexion’s technology and potentially become an integral member of its broader data-crunching offering.
Mr Ebbeck said it was also a handy precursor to understanding the broader opportunities in the auto sector build on the Internet of Things trend.
“There are significant opportunities to lower servicing costs for both car manufacturers and dealers and there’s a substantial social benefit as better information from cars helps reduce accidents and health costs associated with that,” he said. “I also see some easy net steps into parallel industries, beyond the automobile, where the approach can be replicated easily.”
Mr Parthimos said traffic management was another area where the connected car was likely to make a big impact over time.
“There are a lot of different applications that make the meaningful data useful not just to maintenance and support service providers but also to people who supply connectivity to third-party vehicles and use the data for their own internal purposes,” he said.
“Finally, the automakers themselves want to access useful data in real time.”