The best of SXSW 2015: Make any car a connected car

Last updated: 20 March 2015

The buzz about Connected Car technology is higher than ever these days as innovative solutions transform not just our cars and driving experience, but our modern day connected lifestyles as well. Connected cars are driving a world of advanced capabilities to expand the horizons of the Internet of Things (IoT). For instance, intelligent road signs and tolling stations can now communicate real time traffic and road condition data directly to a connected car’s navigation system to improve route recommendations. Connected cars can communicate with a smart thermostat in your home to turn up the heat as your car nears home.  And on long family road trips, 4G mobile WiFi hot spots can stream Netflix movies in the back of the minivan and Internet audio up front while mom or dad fires off work emails from the passenger seat. When a significant share of cars are connected to the Internet and able to communicate, new use cases like V2V and V2X, ADAS and ultimately autonomous driving will move into the mainstream.  The possibilities are exciting and driving the connected car market to grow 10 times as fast as the overall car market. 

I’m just as excited as anyone; however, I love my 2007 Acura RDX and I’m not yet ready to part with it. Not to mention that most connected-car vehicles come with an average sticker price of $55,000, which is out of reach for most car buyers (including yours truly). This is where leading edge companies like Vinli are making a huge impact.

Vinli just launched an aftermarket device that plugs into a car’s OBD-II port (a standard port on the dashboard of any U.S. car built after 1995) and uses Gemalto’s M2M connectivity solutions to quickly turn an unconnected car, like mine, into a connected one. The port, typically located under the driver’s side dash, is the same one used by mechanics to run diagnostics on vehicle engines. After installed, drivers and passengers can enjoy 4G WiFi speeds and download a growing suite of Vinli apps like Dash that integrates your smart phone with your car to unlock enhanced performance, cost savings and hands-free services.  Other apps such as eCall provide automatic 911 calling when accidents or emergencies arise.  And Otto can automatically diagnose your car, explain any issues and quickly connect you with the nearest or preferred mechanic.

This week I had the opportunity at SXSW in Austin to drive around with the folks from Vinli who showed me how easy it is to get connected. Check out the video below:

SXSW Vinli connected car demo