NAA Event Review: Unique behind-the-scenes tour of Vodafone Automotive’s Secure Operating Centre
During the last month NAA members have visited Mini Gears, which was a highly enjoyable visit, but for something very different we’ve also been fortunate to have a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the Vodafone Automotive Secure Operating Centre (SOC) in Burnley, where visitors found out about the company’s activities in the area of the prevention and tracking of stolen vehicles, and other fascinating developments in the world of technology and connected vehicles…
Vodafone Automotive is the new name for Cobra following Vodafone’s acquisition of the Cobra Group in August 2014. It combines Cobra’s 40-year heritage in vehicle security and telematics with Vodafone’s reputation as a world-leading telecoms brand.
Vodafone Automotive has created a leading provider of connected car products and services – which include In-Car Telematics, Stolen Vehicle Tracking and Usage-Based Insurance solutions – for fleets, vehicle manufacturers, logistics providers and insurance companies.
The company’s pan-European OEM customers for stolen vehicle tracking and location-based services include Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, Volkswagen passenger cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The UK is just one of 10 Vodafone Automotive businesses around the globe including Italy, Germany, Brazil, China, France, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland which collectively employ approximately 880 employees.
Vodafone Automotive is part of Vodafone’s Internet of Things (IoT) business unit which connects devices such as cars to the internet. This enables cars to exchange real-time status information to create new insights, applications and solutions to transform the way we live and work.
Members gained an insight into the connected car space and the opportunities this has provided for growth of Vodafone Automotive’s service provision. One of the many fascinating subjects was the Secure Operating Centre (SOC), one of only 5 in the UK and is wholly owned by Vodafone Automotive, operating 24/7. The company manages the alerts from vehicles fitted with its stolen vehicle tracking devices, liaising with police for recovery in the event of a theft. The SOC has enabled Vodafone Automotive to provide a real end-to-end solution from installation to response services and also grow its usage based insurance (UBI) and fleet solutions.
Vodafone Automotive’s technology was demonstrated via an App which provides the details of your vehicle’s location – along with lots of other data – and a Porsche was used to show a real-life example of this in action.
The NAA visit to Vodafone also included a presentation from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The NPL is the UK government’s national measurement institute. As well as carrying out roles such as the development and dissemination of the UK’s measurement standards, the NPL (with a ‘Northern’ base in Huddersfield) can currently offer free support to SMEs. Companies can access help in areas such as component measurement and inspection, the use of equipment, training, events, measurement consultancy and measurement R&D.
Finally there was also a presentation from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), one of the Catapult Centres. AMRC offers metallurgy-based training courses, with one coming up on the subject of failure analysis on 27 July in Speke.