With MapAnything Live, GM Aims to Turn Car into Mobile Sales Office

GM was the first automaker to enter the realm of connected cars when it launched the OnStar navigation system more than 20 years ago.

However, telematics has come a long way since then, as evidenced by GM’s announcement that it will partner with location analytics startup MapAnything to offer its fleet customers a way to automate critical business tasks while they’re out on the road, saving them time and money.

Called MapAnything Live, the service will combine fleet management technologies with Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools, delivered on a monthly subscription basis via OnStar’s embedded hardware. The deal represents the first partnership of its kind for the automaker, according to the company’s press release. The goal is to create the world’s “first-ever smart car for the enterprise” and get more than 5,000 of these GM fleet vehicles out on the road by the end of the year.

The key to MapAnything Live, says company CEO John Stewart, is what he calls geo-productivity: intelligent routing and client prioritization based on real-time Salesforce lead data.

“Geo-tools are often used for analytics, but are usually not part of everyday workflows,” he explains. “MapAnything Live verifies that the driver is adhering to the schedule, and they’re able to adjust routing and assignments on the fly.”

Stewart says his company’s research found that nearly a third of sales managers said their representatives spent less than half of their work hours actively selling, instead devoting the bulk of their time to scheduling, commuting, and other administrative duties.

MapAnything Live aims to increase the amount of time field employees spend actively engaging with customers by automating the creation of work orders, invoices, and relationship status changes based on the vehicle’s proximity to a customer; enabling intelligent routing based on Salesforce priorities and telematics data; and monitoring the vehicle’s use and condition by tracking things like idle time, ignition state, and rates of acceleration.

MapAnything, which has more than 180 employees and is based in Charlotte, NC, has over 1,800 customers worldwide. One prominent automotive supplier—Stewart declined to publicly disclose who it is—plans to use MapAnything Live in its fleet of about 900 vehicles to figure out how much time salespeople are spending driving to appointments.

In a statement, GM said in-vehicle 4G connections are driving double-digit annual growth in fleet management software, as well as in its overall business. The automaker decided to form a relationship with MapAnything, it said, because of high consumer interest in bringing Internet of Things capabilities into the car. Meanwhile, Stewart sees MapAnything Live as the beginning of a fruitful partnership. (The specific financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.)

“GM is a very important relationship for us,” Stewart adds. “Companies own a surprising number of fleet vehicles, so we expect MapAnything Live to be a huge growth area.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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