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Connecting cars

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“We are specialized in vehicle connectivity,” says Freddie Geier, managing director of novero. “Our solutions enable users to connect the car phones with both the in-car electronic systems and the Internet. We provide hands-free voice communication, messaging, voice recognition and integration of multimedia applications such as navigation, traffic information, remote diagnosis or emergency calls in the car.” Officially founded in 2008, novero is a young company with a wealth of experience and a track record of innovative solutions in connecting cars with the Internet. Actually, novero was founded by a managementbuy- out of the automotive business of Nokia, a pioneer in connectivity solutions for vehicles. For example, in 1998 the automotive business unit developed the first hands-free car gateways, followed in 2000 by the first GSM/GPS-based Telematics system and in 2002 by the first Bluetooth hands-free car gateway with advanced voice recognition. In 2003 the unit set new standards with the world’s first integrated GSM car phone with Bluetooth remote SIM access.

Building on the expertise in car connectivity, leading-edge solutions and the excellent relations to leading car makers, novero is internationally active today with headquarters in Düsseldorf, a production and development branch in Bochum, Germany, an operating research and development center in Toronto, Canada, serving the North Americanmarket, a software development and testing branch in Romania, business hubs in Singapore and China, and a development and production branch in Dabendorf near Berlin, site of the high-frequency specialist Funkwerk Dabendorf, which was taken over by novero in 2012.

“We have greatly added to our know-how by the acquisition,” explains Mr. Geier. “Funkwerk Dabendorf is a pioneer in car connectivity with a number of unique products. For example, the company developed COMPENSER®, which revolutionized in-car reception and a range of advanced antenna solutions.” Freddie Geier was appointed managing director of all novero companies last year, after the takeover of novero by the new parent company novero Investment B.V. based in the Netherlands. Freddie Geier has a lot of professional experience in managing software and hardware companies such as Elgato and Astarte and, the most prominent among them, Apple, where he worked at the US headquarters and was General Manager for Germany and Central Europe.

“I am always keen on taking on new challenges,” says Mr. Geier. “Connected car is a booming business, probably the fastest growing sector in the automotive industry and novero has the potential to exploit the market chances. We have streamlined forces with focus on automotive solutions and repositioned novero as a B2B business for the automotive industry. With the combined know-how in cellular technologies and in connectivity we provide integrated car connectivity solutionsfor enhanced driver comfort, driver assistance and car safety.” The range of novero products encompasses telematics control units, car phones and handset integration. Telematics connectivity units with integrated GPS tracking and a variety of functions such as E-call, fullyautomated accident alert, breakdown call-out, traffic reports, remote control door locking, remote diagnosis or floating car data.

“We develop bespoke connectivity solutions for telematics services in close cooperation with the car makers,” underlines Mr. Geier. “With our roots at Nokia, we are experts in developing phones and here again we provide bespoke solutions for easy-to-use hands-free integrated or stand-alone embedded car phones with Bluetooth and WiFi. We also offer wireless charging of phones and cellular antenna coupling for enhanced audio quality. Handset integration, our Bluetooth voice connectivity solution, provides optimum comfort for drivers enabling them to activate and control all functions of the car and all devices just by voice.” As a Tier one supplier novero serves OEMs of major car brands including VW, Audi, Skoda, BMW, Daimler, MAN or DAF. With a staff of 420 novero generated a turnover of 75 million EUR in 2013.

“We generate most of the turnover on foreign markets, mainly with foreign branches of German car makers,” says the managing director. “So far, we are a smaller player, but we are engaged in increasing the awareness of the brand, global presence is the declared target for the future. We make use of all channels to communicate our know-how and our solutions. For example, we take part in TECdays of the OEMs to demonstrate our latest developments on site, a lasting experience. The demand for connected cars will further grow as a recent market survey illustrates. For car buyers it is all about technology and connectivity plays a key role and we are well prepared to meet the demand.”

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