Today we live in a society that is more and more reliant on smart phones and technology. In fact, the average smart phone last about 21 months (CNET.com). In comparison, the average lifespan of any given car on the road at this time is 10.8 years (forbes.com). So while our smart phones are being replaced almost every 2 years, more and more Americans are keeping their cars for much, much longer. The problem is that many of these older vehicles are not equipped with the latest smart phone connecting technology like SYNC 3. Fortunately, a small company may have a solution to keep even our oldest vehicles connected.
Vinli is a small company with a big dream: turn every vehicle into a smart vehicle. The basic approach to the problem is the same as Apple, Google, and Amazon’s approach to making every tv a “smart tv”; a plug in accessory. This would provide the equivalency of built in on board connectivity system.
Vinli’s “box” would plug into the same slot as a mechanic’s diagnostic tool linking directly to the car’s computer. The Vinli “box” runs on Linux and includes a GPS, accelerometer, custom firmware that communicates with the vehicle’s on-board information system, and one more highly coveted feature, a Wi-Fi hot spot. With just the base model equipped, a customer will have access to GPS and a vehicle diagnostic report. This is a huge upgrade for an older vehicle, or one that did not come equipped with a technology package.
The new Vinli device will not stop there though. Vinli is providing developers with the tools to create new apps, and already 20 have been created with another 150 expected by the end of the year. One interesting app that is already available is called Beagle. Since Vinli does not require Bluetooth to connect to the car’s diagnostics, this app tracks a vehicles speed and location, allowing a parent to remotely monitor their teens driving habits. Beagle can even be set up with “boundaries” which send alerts when a vehicle exceeds a certain speed or travels beyond a designated area. Vinli’s CEO Mark Haidar put it this way “There is no requirement or mandate to developers, We give them the tools; they have to leverage our platform to come up with the innovation”.
The possibilities for different applications and processes are seemingly endless. Vinli is already working on a free and paid version of an emergency alert service that can either contact an emergency contact if you have vehicle issues, or an accident. Another service Vinli is working on is allowing the on-board GPS to give you quotes on a tow vehicle and give your GPS location so you can easily be found. The last service is one that will diagnose your car an
d tell you things like when you need an oil change, or other car repair concerns. As Haidar put it, “This is like your mechanic on your phone. Basically every single second we’re diagnosing your car for issues so we can immediately send that to a certified service shop or dealership. But because we are connected right to the engine and car we can actually predict things before it happens. We can say based on the way you drive you’re going to need to change your oil in two weeks and three days.” This service can also be upgraded to send your information to your favorite service shop so they can keep track of your vehicle and let you know when a problem may be arising BEFORE it happens. This technology has the potential to save customers a lot of cash.
Vinli is still developing their product, and are working on issues that will effect the future of their product. Obvious issues are securing customers information, integration (or potential integration) with already existing systems, and much more. For now we will keep our eye on Vinli and hope for a future where any vehicle can be a smart vehicle.
For more information visit Vinli’s website HERE
Court Street Ford, located at 558 William Latham Drive, is a multi-year president’s award winning dealership. We have been serving the Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais area for 30 years and counting! We are committed to exceptional customer service. Stop by our dealership, or give us a call at (815) 939-9600. Our knowledgeable sales team and service department will be happy to help and are dedicated to providing the best experience.