Spireon, the U.S. vehicle intelligence company announced last week that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had awarded it a patent on its technology approach to vehicle inventory management. Titled “Methods and Apparatus for Monitoring and Control of Electronic Devices,” the patent forms the crux of the technology used in Kahu, Spireon’s connected vehicle solution built for dealers.
“Kahu is a product we developed for the franchise dealer business that kicked off in January last year. It uses a GPS device combined with our platform in the cloud to help enterprise dealer groups track and manage their dealer inventory and also drive business back to their service departments,” said Rick Gruenhagen, CTO at Spireon. “It gives them quite a bit of analytics on how their businesses are performing, test drives, vehicle sales, the health of vehicles, location of the vehicles in their lots, and so on.”
Such data would allow large enterprise dealers with multiple lots to remotely micromanage their vehicles and thereby provide their customers with a great experience in the vehicle. The patent’s utility here was with driving Spireon towards creating this real-time platform for dealers - both on the device side and the cloud side.
Auto dealers can now connect their vehicles to Spireon’s NSpire platform, which gives them the visibility they need to effectively manage lots, service customers, and improve their bottom line. “We now have a very robust device platform as well as a software platform for tracking vehicles real-time and streaming data off of those vehicles and enter the cloud,” said Gruenhagen.
Specific use-cases include providing location and battery health information for every vehicle in the lot, using vehicle identification number (VIN) to search and find vehicles, detecting device tampering and disconnection issues.
“Innovation, coupled with reliability, ease of use and flexible architecture to evolve as our customers’ needs change, is what sets Spireon apart,” said Gruenhagen. “We’re extremely proud of our growing patent portfolio, which also includes 16 pending patent applications, as it demonstrates our team’s focus on bringing cutting-edge solutions to every market we serve.”
Spireon is actively engaged in building new innovative products, like a Kahu sensor that uses infrared sensor networks to learn what it is looking at, to do image classification. “We apply these machine learning processes in the analytics activity for franchise dealers, and we are using the same infrastructure that was used for developing new technology, which I anticipate will be patentable in the future,” said Gruenhagen.
Spireon is gearing up for the January NADA event, where it would be announcing new features of the Kahu platform. “It is very exciting for us, as they really create the first global engagement environment for auto dealers and their customers after-sale,” said Carla Fitzgerald, CMO at Spireon.
“A lot of the patented technology that has to do with maintaining and managing inventory while it's on the dealer site, and to push that inventory reach to the consumer. But the profitability of dealerships is largely dependent on maintaining a long-term client relationship, bringing those customers back for service, bringing in for lease upgrades, and for new purchases down the road.”
Spireon’s new technology is designed to help facilitate the above said, and as Fitzgerald puts it, “the technology would help dealers to not just manage the vehicles when they are on the lot, but also continue to engage with their customers after they leave the lot, while building customer satisfaction and grow revenue in the post-sale environment.”