Powering connections in the most mobile of environments, the car.
Tweddle Group Technologies (TGT), the Seattle-based division of Tweddle Group, delivers connected owner solutions to automakers that transform the relationship between driver and vehicle. For more than 58 years, Tweddle Group has provided information solutions for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers. OEMs count on Tweddle to deliver innovations that enhance consumers’ relationship with their vehicle, the dealer, and the automaker.
We sat down with Paul Sciame, General Manager of TGT, to learn more about the company’s connected owner solutions, and how Xignite’s market data cloud plays an important role in keeping customers connected to financial data and productive while in the car.
Q. Tell us about Tweddle Group Technologies. What services does the company provide?
A. TGT helps automakers provide drivers with safe, reliable, and intuitive access to infotainment and vehicle-connected services in their cars. We adapt services so that drivers can safely access content, apps, and services in their cars, just like they can on a mobile phone, computer, or tablet. What makes TGT different is the versatility and scalability of our platform, which helps us remove complexities for drivers, automakers, and service providers.
Q. Who are your customers?
Our key customers are automakers, such as Toyota. However, we also manage the ecosystem of content, applications, and services including navigation providers, traffic data, voice integration, and search, among many others. We are a Tier One supplier to Toyota who we worked with to launch the Toyota Entune™ and Lexus Enform™ application suites. . We also helped Toyota introduce the next version of Entune™ complete with Plug-in Hybrid applications, enabling drivers to remotely find their vehicle, manage the vehicle’s charge, and control vehicle climate.
Q. Tell us about the Toyota Entune™ application suite – what is it and who is it for?
A. Toyota describes the Entune system as “a revolutionary in-car technology that keeps you and your Toyota connected.” It makes popular services and content safely available to drivers so that time spent in the car is focused, productive and enjoyable.
Q. How is the information delivered? Is the vehicle connected to the internet?
A. Content can be delivered via most smartphones including iPhones, Android™, and Blackberry® smartphones, using Bluetooth® wireless technology and a cellular data connection, or via an embedded wireless module. Our platform flexibility enables us to provide automakers with customized delivery solutions, based on their preferences.
Q. What kind of content can you get through Entune?
A. Entune includes services like Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Pandora®, and a variety of data services such as fuel prices, sports, stocks, traffic, and weather. TGT’s platform ensures that changes to services do not impact the safety of the vehicle and that the user’s experience is continuous and consistent between mobile phone and vehicle head unit.
Q. You mentioned stock information. Is this an important feature? What financial data do you provide your customers?
A. Market research indicates drivers want access to content and services they have on their computers and mobile phones while in the car. We’re finding stock quotes and financial information to be popular, particularly for drivers who commute during market hours. We use Xignite as a financial data provider, so we can offer on-demand access to real-time prices of stocks, mutual funds, and major market indices.
Q. What was your experience like integrating data from the Xignite market data cloud?
A. The Xignite service was simple to implement—it plugged right into our application and helped us reduce our expected development time. We work with several data providers, and we were really impressed with how easy it has been to work with Xignite.
Q. What are your biggest challenges?
A. An important objective for TGT is delivering the greatest amount of functionality while maintaining the highest safety standards. Voice enablement of services plays an important role in reaching that goal. When we first launched our platform, Bing was the only voice-activated service. In the latest release, we added voice capabilities for the streaming radio, restaurant reservations and movie ticket purchasing services. And we’ll continue to announce more voice enabled services including stocks later this year.
Q. Where does the industry go from here?
A. This industry is moving really quickly. Drivers will want increased choice of services and personalized experiences in the car. The industry is balancing driver safety and convenience, and therefore, increased precision of voice services will be integral. It’s important that applications in this environment are “automotive-grade” and don’t interfere with the vehicle’s ability to function safely. This is exactly where TGT comes in. We also believe that “over-the-air” service updates, which TGT already provides, will catch on. “Over-the-air” updates decrease auto manufacturers’ costs and maximize user convenience, because without them, drivers have to take their car to a dealer for a physical USB head unit update.