Dec 11, 2019

How Altair is Addressing Today’s Vehicle Telematics Challenges with Cellular IoT

By Dima Feldman, Altair’s Head of Product Management

Vehicle Telematics has been an exciting addition to the automotive industry since back in the 1980’s. Hungry for sweeping change, we waited collectively to connect vehicles in real time, allowing fleet managers, lot owners, and individuals to gain amazing new insights into their vehicle.

Through the modern evolution of instant connectivity, our desire for data has brought us to the doorstep of new automotive technology. Cars and trucks are used daily on roads around the globe. While it seems natural to collect data on all possible points of our vehicle’s journey, the Vehicle Telematics industry had not yet been able to deliver a practical solution which makes data collecting convenient and practical. With the activation of IoT-focused cellular networks, we have reason to be excited.


The most obvious solutions may be a technology that has been all around us for decades. Newly activated CAT-M & NB-IoT networks are LTE bands that were once used only for voice-calls on our “dumb” phones. Today, these same bands are roaring back to life, ready to carry IoT data around the world.

Previous generations of vehicle tracking devices were power hungry and required professional installation. The cost of such an installation is typically multiple times more expensive than the device itself. A new generation of devices, powered by ALT1250, allows years of operation, zero cost installation, and opens the market to a variety of use cases.

The data collected over a Cellular IoT network can be remotely delivered to a designated recipient. This can allow a fleet manager to manage shipments, notify a financier of their defaulted vehicle’s location, or let parents know that their teenage driver is cruising at a safe speed.

Data can serve multiple entities and enable services tailored for different use cases

  • Fleet owners can now track in real time where their trucks are and what drivers are doing. They will also be able to see the actual drive time, and in some cases, also unexpected stops that may be track failures or suspicious driver activities.
  • Governments can monitor their fleets for driving behavior and vehicle location.
  • Insurance and financing companies can use the data to locate stolen vehicles or recover a vehicle from the defaulted driver.
  • Parents can monitor their teenagers’ driving habits and location, receiving priceless piece of mind knowing that their child is being safe.
  • Rental companies can gather data about vehicle locations and get more precise information about how vehicle are used. New technologies can tell them if there are any insurance policy violations (such as off road driving) and allow for further fleet optimization by knowing the exact location and direction of each vehicle.

Recognizing the potential that real-time telematics can deliver, we took a technological leap with our ALT1250 and combined cellular connectivity with Sony GNSS into one cellular IoT chipset. Our integration optimizes low-power usage with accurate readings, on the open road, in urban canyons, and even underground by combining information form the cellular network and GNSS.


Continuous connectivity across the country with underground capabilities sounds like a recipe for battery drain but not with our Cellular IoT chipset. Flexible power modes, rapid wakeup, and ultra-low power design allows for multi-year use without a single charge. Devices perform day after day, regardless of where they are hidden within a vehicle.

The convenience of not needing to maintain a device or bring it to a technician for installation is allowing the Vehicle Telematics industry to reimagine what is possible.


The real game-changer of the security-focused Altair-powered devices is their low-cost installation combined with wide area coverage. Requiring no hard wiring means an automotive sales associate, fleet manager, or vehicle owner can walk up to the car and complete activation in mere minutes.

Long-range connectivity is freeing Vehicle Telematics from a stand-alone unit and allowing it to deliver information to the cloud in real time. Together with Sony, Cellular IoT technology is helping us to learn about our driving habits, create efficient shipping routes, and gain insight into the status of our vehicles. Finally, we can learn about our vehicle-related behaviors in real time.