During the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Verizon Wireless introduced its own aftermarket connected car module. The carrier is calling its module Verizon Vehicle and it works similarly with other plug-in dashboard gadgets such as Automatic, Mojio, and Zubie. But instead of aiming at the early tech adopter set, Verizon Vehicle is clearly after the roadside assistance and telematics market first introduced by GM's OnStar.
Verizon Vehicle basically consists of two parts: 1) a module that is plugged into the on-board diagnostic port of any automobile made within the last two decades, and 2) a Bluetooth microphone and speaker that is attached the vehicle's visor.
What the module does is track the vehicle's location using global positioning system (GPS) technology, at the same time keeping constantly connected to the Verizon Wireless cellular network. As for the visor device -- it connects to the plug-in module wireless and lets users contact and talk to a Verizon Vehicle operator or auto mechanic.
Aside from vehicle location, Verizon Vehicle's other services include accident alerts and a panic button that allows users to call a Verizon Vehicle dispatcher in times of emergency. On top of all that, there is also a hotline that lets drivers contact a professional mechanic to help them in troubleshooting or diagnosing problems with their vehicles.
Most plug-in modules normally tap into the vehicle's control access network. Verizon Vehicle is no exception. By tapping into the vehicle's internal computer, Verizon Vehicle can get access to all kinds of data related to the automobile's history and performance.
Via a mobile app or via text or email, Verizon Vehicle will be able to determine the exact details of what is troubling your car when that check engine light starts to flash. In addition to that, the app and text/email alert system will also assist vehicle owners in performing preventive maintenance, e.g. reminding drivers to get an oil change, or maybe have the tires checked.
Verizon Wireless is planning to make Verizon Vehicle available for a monthly subscription fee sometime in the second quarter of this year. As a matter of fact, the Big Red is looking at an April 10 date for shipping its car plug-in module.
For every additional vehicle that uses Verizon Vehicle, the charge will be $13 per month. The good news is that Verizon Vehicle will not be necessarily linked to a Verizon Wireless phone plan, which means subscribers of other wireless carriers can avail of the car plug-in module subscription.
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