VOXX Automotive and UniKey Technologies have entered a strategic partnership that will see the two companies bring secure, keyless products, and vehicle access solutions to the automotive market. VOXX Automotive is a business unit of VOXX International Corp. UniKey is among the world’s largest mobile access control platform providers.
VOXX brings strength and experience in the automotive vertical to this partnership as well as its phone-as-a-key technology, which seamlessly lets drivers use smartphones as vehicle key fobs, according to the company. UniKey adds Bluetooth location capabilities, communications and secure cloud services expertise, as well as a scalable digital key sharing platform. Together, the technology harnesses a Bluetooth-enabled mobile application, vehicle sensor array and cloud infrastructure for drivers to seamlessly access, use and share their vehicles.
A contract awarded to VOXX Automotive by an electric vehicle (EV) maker has the two companies already working on a keyless solution for an EV model to be delivered in 2019, according to VOXX. The partnership is expected to yield family key-sharing and car-sharing services as well as similar uses by car rental firms and auto fleet operators.
“The relationship with UniKey allows VOXX Automotive to further accelerate our drive to eliminate the need for consumers to carry their car keys or fobs,” said Michael Schroeder, VOXX Automotive’s senior vice president of OEM sales and business development. “More importantly, it represents yet another way VOXX allows OEMs to differentiate themselves from other marques in the global automotive market. In UniKey we have a partner who shares our efob Phone-as-a-Key vision.”
The agreement with VOXX represents UniKey’s first move into the automotive OEM arena and comes after its technology has been employed by leading home door hardware and commercial access control brands, with more than 200 million lock and unlock events to date.
“Our vision is to let consumers effortlessly access their homes, offices, and automobiles, while increasing security, visibility and control,” said Phil Dumas, UniKey’s founder and CEO. “Far more than a matter of convenience, this partnership will help automakers and related companies capitalize on major market shifts in how consumers use automobiles. As car-sharing, ride-sharing and fleet management markets rapidly advance, the opportunity to create competitive advantages from the products we will jointly develop with VOXX Automotive is massive.”
The global car-sharing market is projected to grow at 34.8-percent year-over-year between now and 2024, when it will total $16.5 billion, according to Global Market Insights. The car rental market is estimated to show a compound annual growth rate of 10.24 percent between now and 2220, based on analysis by Research and Markets.