MUNICH, Germany - Telematics held great promise for the industry when it debuted in the late 1990s.
Automakers dreamed of big profits by turning their vehicles into mobile information, communication and entertainment centers.
But telematics has failed to deliver on its promise.
Systems are more complex and costly to develop than initially estimated. Customers are reluctant to pay for complex systems whose benefits haven't been demonstrated. And no winners have emerged in the battle for software standardization.
As a result, the industry lags the telecommunications and information technology industries in realizing the potential of new systems.
The second Microsoft European Automotive and Telematics Conference here, organized in association with Automotive News Europe, provided a sober assessment of the post-hype state of telematics.
"Since the IT hype of two years ago, everybody is now thinking more realistically and wants to make systems that work," says Stefan Vieweg, head of telematics and global product management for Vodafone.
"The unlimited risk capital invested in telematics was disconnected from consumer demand," says Niklas Wahlberg, director of telematics for Ford's Premier Automotive Group of luxury brands.
"We're currently in the posthype period where the realization of true potential will come."