Samsung and Verizon can make any car a connected car.
Samsung and Verizon have both entered the connected car business with two new products: Samsung’s Connect Auto and Verizon’s Hum. Both products are dongles that connect into a car’s OBD II diagnostic port (most cars built between 2000 and 2015 have one), located underneath the steering wheel, and allow the driver monitor their car’s performance along with a few other cool features. Both products are a relatively cheap, quick way to update older cars without going through the hassle of installing expensive equipment.
Here’s a quick rundown of the features offered:
Samsung’s Connect Auto:
Acts as an LTE Wi-Fi hot spot
Uses real-time alerts to help users improve driving behavior
Generates fuel efficiency analysis to help drivers consume less fuel
A virtual mechanic checks car status and recommends maintenance and repair services
A Usage-Based Insurance feature that allows drivers to share vehicle data to receive more valuable insurance offerings
Journey logs, with the option of automatically generating an email report to help users track expenses
Kept secure with Samsung KNOX, Samsung’s in-house mobile security platform
Will be available through AT&T in Q2
Diagnostic updates to help driver’s closely monitor their vehicle’s health
Mechanic concierge service
Roadside and emergency assistance using the dongle’s GPS feature
Stolen vehicle location assistance
Service and travel discounts
No LTE Wi-Fi feature
While the idea of a “connected car” is undoubtedly a cool one, it does raise some interesting questions about the future of personal data and privacy—the conversation’s been going on for a long time, but as connected cars become more and more widespread, and as it becomes easier for older models to adopt some of these features, another dimension is created. First it was social media, then it was our smartphones, now, in a more concrete way than ever, it’s our cars.
Security in the face of hackers is paramount, but one also has to wonder if and how Verizon and Samsung will be using the data their new products collect. Maybe it’s not so bad though….
Who hasn’t wished they had a “find my iPhone” feature but for their cars? And their keys…but it looks like Volvo’s got that one covered.