News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Telstra acquires MTData to build out connected vehicle offering

Telstra has acquired Australian company MTData for an undisclosed fee, as it aims to grow out a “key pillar” of its connected vehicle offering.

Founded in Australia in 2003, MTData has 11 global offices and operates across the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, the Middle East, providing GPS telematics and fleet management technology across industries including transport and logistics, resources, and emergency and government.

The AFR reported earlier this year that the company had engaged Ernst & Young to run a sale, seeking a bid between $50 million and $100 million.

Michelle Bendschneider, executive director of global products at Telstra, said, “This strategic acquisition will enable us to capitalise on the business ready IoT capability on our network, deliver IoT solutions to our customers in the heavy vehicle industry and support a natural transition towards future autonomous vehicle technologies.

“MTData will bring fresh expertise to our business, including the technical know-how and software expertise to help fast track our Enterprise Connected Vehicle offerings…we look forward to working in partnership with the MTData team to continue to innovate for our customers in the months and years ahead.”

The acquisition comes after Telstra switched on its Cat-M1 IoT network, launched in partnership with Ericsson, in August. According to Telstra, the network covers three million square kilometres and 99 percent of the population.

Matthew Bellizia, CEO of MTData, said in joining Telstra the company will continue to work with industry to build solutions for the needs of its customers.

“Telstra is the right partner for MTData. There are strong synergies with our technology and customer focused cultures and through our integration we will provide customers with access to new and existing technologies like Telstra’s IoT offerings.”

The telco has been experimenting with connected vehicles for a while.

After running a ‘Vehicle-to-Infrastructure’ trial last year and a ‘Vehicle-to-Vehicle’ trial in February, Telstra in July carried out a trial of its ‘Vehicle-to-Pedestrian’ technology in South Australia, in conjunction with Cohda Wireless and the state government.

The Vehicle-to-Pedestrian technology looks at how vehicles can interact directly with mobile phones of pedestrians and cyclists to provide early warning collision detection and alerts via an app. The tech was tested through a variety of common scenarios, such as a car reversing out of a driveway and a car approaching a pedestrian crossing.

Image: Michelle Bendschneider. Source: Telstra Exchange.

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