08 January 2016
by Yolanda Redrup

General Motors unveils Aussie vehicle management app


Connexion Media CEO George Parthimos at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The world's first smart car subscription service that lets users track a vehicle's diagnostics from a smartphone in real-time has been developed by Melbourne-based tech company Connexion Media for General Motors.

Commercial Link, which operates via an internet-connected SIM card installed in GM's new vehicles and a website and app, was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

It allows consumers to monitor things like the car's fuel consumption, battery life, location, driver behaviour and speed.

Connexion Media chief executive George Parthimos said it was the first of many software-as-a-service vehicle management products for internet-connected cars.


The Commercial Link app will let users monitor a vehicle's fuel consumption, battery life and speed in real-time.

The Commercial Link app will let users monitor a vehicle's fuel consumption, battery life and speed in real-time.

"It's very rare to be able to release something so disruptive and so revolutionary," Mr Parthimos said.

"It's the first subscription service in the world that will use built-in connected car technology for everyday people. And this is the first of many."

Research from Gartner shows that 250 million cars will be connected to the internet by 2020.

Commercial Link can be used by vehicle owners and small fleet managers. The subscription fee starts at $10 per month, per vehicle, when the user has an OnStar account with GM.

GM is behind brands such as Holden, Chevrolet and Cadillac. It manufactures more than 3.4 million vehicles for the US market each year and almost all of its new vehicles will have access to Commercial Link.

The announcement of the product comes two days after General Motors invested at least $500 million in Uber competitor Lyft. As part of the deal, the two companies will work together on developing a fleet of self-driving cars, as GM aims to keep up with Google, Tesla and Uber.

Mr Parthimos said the Commercial Link service was a turning point for internet-connected cars.

"This is big for Australia, not just us. People are going to look back in 10 years and see a particular point in time. When was the first time the connected car actually created value for consumers? This is that moment," he said.

"It's something every tech entrepreneur dreams of – to be first to market with a major multinational."

The ASX-listed Connexion Media was founded in 2005 and started working with major car manufacturers in 2008. It also has partnerships with Volkswagen and Peugeot.

Its other main product is miRoamer, an internet car radio, and it won its first major contracts on the back of its debut at CES in 2009.

The company is also helping to rejuvenate the Victorian automotive sector, following the closure of Toyota and Holden's manufacturing divisions in Australia, by creating an innovation centre to link automotive tech companies with major industry players.

The local centre will be based in Melbourne and it will have a sister site in Detroit, which is the home of Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler.

Discussions are under way with the Victorian government and the City of Detroit about establishing the innovation hubs.