CarLock 3.0 allow greater security than before

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CarLock, the GPS revolution designed to notify motorists if their vehicle is broken in to or stolen, has launched a brand new, updated version of its app.

CarLock 3.0 is a brand new generation of car protection, with a redesigned interface that is more user-friendly than ever before. A range of robust new features are also included in the update, including a slick new dashboard, a redesigned and streamlined login screen and a profile for multi-vehicle overviews.

Smarter, quicker and more intuitive than ever, the latest version of the app will launched on 6/22/2016. All existing users will be invited to upgrade at no cost, giving greater peace of mind at the touch of a button. The exciting new update will take vehicle security to a whole new level, and keep drivers more in touch with their cars than ever before.

Matej Persolja, CEO of Protectus Technologies, Inc., says, “We’re very excited to launch the updated version of the CarLock app, to give drivers more control over their vehicle security than they’ve ever enjoyed in the past. The entire thing has been redesigned to make it easier to use, and there are a bundle of new features which integrate with the CarLock itself, providing core diagnostics and protecting the vehicle at all times.

“CarLock indicates a move away from traditional car alarms, which are largely ignored nowadays, signifying a smart new way to protect vehicles at home and elsewhere. We’re pleased we’ve been able to leverage the latest technology to provide a better, more effective companion app for all of our CarLock customers.”

As well as the new app, the CarLock team will be launching a my.CarLock web interface – a brand new dashboard which offers an at-a-glance overview of each car, completed journeys, and a brand new metric: Your Driving Score. This new score gives a number between 1-100 so drivers can gauge how smooth their driving is. Users will also be able to see how many journeys they’ve made within a certain timeframe, as well as adding additional vehicles to their account.

The CarLock itself uses remote GPS technology to allow vehicle owners to track their car’s every movement, as well as pinpointing its location if necessary. By logging into the app on a smartphone or tablet device, users can monitor their vehicle twenty-four hours a day. New features integrated within the app also allow users to personalise their experience by uploading images of their own vehicle to the app.

The CarLock communicates with the app via the CarLock Cloud, which notifies the owner with a mobile alert if a series of suspicious activities are detected. The app also sends notifications when the CarLock has been disconnected.

The new look app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and is compatible with any smartphone running iOS. An Android version will be available later in the year. CarLock 3.0 is designed to run in the background, providing round-the-clock updates on the vehicle’s location and giving vehicle owners total peace of mind that their expensive asset is protected.

To learn more about the company or to place an order visit www.carlock.co or download the app from https://itunes.apple.com/si/app/carlock/id721180397?mt=8

 

Honda Road Readers offers children’s audiobooks

Honda Road Readers App

Honda Road Readers App

The average family spends about four hours per week in the car. Honda wants families to put that time to good use. Today the brand is launching Honda Road Readers, a new app (available on Apple® and Android™) providing Honda drivers free access to children’s audiobooks to expose children to great literature and foster their imaginations. An introductory video to the program will be promoted on Honda’s social channels, using the hashtag #HondaRoadReaders.

“The goal for the Honda Road Readers program is to provide an educational and entertaining alternative to the usual car ride and inspire young listeners to vividly imagine,” said Susie Rossick, Assistant Vice President, Honda/Acura Regional Media and Marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “This effort is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the brand’s ‘Power of Dreams’ philosophy by encouraging our customers and their families to dream big together.”

To add to the experience, most books are supported with critical-thinking questions aimed at getting parents and children to dive deeper into each story. Honda has also teamed up with the National Teacher of the Year Program run by the Council of Chief State School Officers to provide a curated selection of books that will be both entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

“Students learn best when they have enthusiastic teachers, and parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. Honda Road Readers will help families share the infectious fun of reading together on journeys of the mind, the imagination and the heart,” says Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and 7th-grade English teacher in Burbank, Calif. “Reading not only boosts academic success but also awakens a person’s social and civic sense. They help us know and be mesmerized by the world around us and give us a sense of how we fit in. Simply put, books change lives for the better.”

Honda recently commissioned a surveysi of more than 1,500 parents with one or more children ages 5 to 16 and learned that 77 percent of parents think listening to books or stories read aloud is very important for children’s cognitive development and developing listening skills. The survey also revealed that parents (69 percent) are concerned that their children are spending too much time in front of screens (cell phones, computers and TV). They are equally aware that their children are not reading books for fun and have fewer opportunities to use their imagination these days.

A Honda Road Readers infographic summarizing the survey findings can be viewed on Honda’s Pinterest and Tumblr pages.

Any Honda owner can easily access the Honda Road Readers program. First, owners go to www.hondaroadreaders.com to register. Owners will then be directed to download the Honda Road Readers app in the Apple or Android store. Next, owners will either scan or key in their 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN). Honda owners will have access to five free audiobooks per Honda VIN aimed at children 5 to 16 years old for one year, the first being J. M. Barrie’s classic Peter Panand followed by four other titles of their choice.

The app experience features 10 rotating National Teacher of the Year featured books and several audiobook categories including fantasy/adventure, mystery, science fiction and teens.

To further support Honda Road Readers in December, the brand will debut a social video, titled “Imagination Inspiration,” featuring Jeff Kinney, the bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Honda spoke with the author, just before he departed on a global tour for book 10, about his new bookstore, imagination and the Honda Road Readers program.

Smartphone users as serious about shopping as desktop pc users: Edmunds.com

Analysis Identifies Key Differences Between Smartphone and Desktop Car Shoppers, as well as iOS vs. Android Shoppers

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Car shoppers using smartphones to access Edmunds.com’s are just as likely – if not more likely – to engage in serious shopping behaviors than those at desktop computers, laptops and tablets, according to a new analysis by the company. The conclusion is one of many takeaways from the research, which offers important insights to automotive retailers as they consider how to invest their resources to meet the crush of shoppers who are turning more to their smartphones to help them make car-buying decisions.

Even though smartphone users spend less time on Edmunds than wired users, they view as many or more pages during that time, and they’re more likely to focus their research on specific vehicles. According to the analysis, 79 percent of smartphone users on Edmunds research at least one specific vehicle model during their time on the site, surpassing even the impressive rate of about 65 percent of wired users.

Smartphone users view local inventory listings at rates more than 30 percent higher than their wired counterparts, suggesting that they are generally lower in the funnel of the car buying process.

“One of the most explicit car shopping behaviors that consumers can exhibit is viewing local inventory, and smartphone users are especially inclined to engage in this behavior,” says Edmunds.com Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache. “Not all mobile users are just playing: many are really serious about using their phones to assist in buying a car.”

Edmunds’ analysis also examined the shopping preferences of both iOS and Android smartphone users. According to an analysis of page views by these two groups, the most popular automotive brand on both operating systems is Toyota. But a deeper look shows stark differences between iOS and Android loyalists: Three luxury brands (BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus), for example, appear on the list of the ten most researched brands for iOS users, compared to just one luxury brand (BMW) for Android users. iOS users also skew more toward Honda (#2 on the brand list) than do Android users (#4 on the brand list).

Most Popular Brands on Edmunds.com – iOS vs Android Users

Rank     iOS                     Android

  1.  Toyota                    Toyota
  2.  Honda                    Chevrolet
  3.  Ford                       Ford
  4.  Chevrolet                Honda
  5.  BMW                      Nissan
  6.  Nissan                    Dodge
  7.  Mercedes-Benz      Mazda
  8.  Jeep                       BMW
  9.  Lexus                     Hyundai
  10.  Mazda                    Jeep

Source: Edmunds.com

Edmunds’ mobile shopper analysis reveals the following additional key findings:

Used car shoppers are especially engaged on mobile. Smartphone site visitors show a stronger preference for used vehicles than wired site visitors (with 53 percent of smartphone visitors looking up used cars vs. 38 percent of wired visitors). And among shoppers who only consider used car content on Edmunds, the share of smartphone shoppers browsing used car inventory on Edmunds is 40 percent higher than the share of wired shoppers.
Mobile shoppers are younger. According to Edmunds’ research, 55 percent of smartphone visitors are Millennials (age 18 to 34), compared to 26 percent of wired site users. And a recent Millennial Study conducted by Edmunds found that 80 percent of Millennials used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car shopping task, compared to just 46 percent of people age 35 and over.
Smartphone shoppers engage more with advertising. Smartphone users are at least 2.5 times more likely to click on ads than wired site visitors, andmobile engagement has tripled compared to last year. An analysis of post-Edmunds activity found that these mobile clickers continue to perform seriousshopping activities on the OEM or dealer sites where their ad clicks redirect them, suggesting that these engagements are not due to accidental clicks or by mistaking ads for Edmunds content.
The overall mobile audience is growing rapidly. Edmunds’ mobile site users and traffic have more than doubled since 2012.

Ask Siri how to say Hyundai in 2015 Sonata

 

Apple Car Play

Apple Car Play

BY GERRY MILES

In another nod to the interactivity and connectivity that’s so intuitive with Apple’s wide range of products, Hyundai is introducing Appe CarPlay in its just announced 2015 Sonata.

CarPlay is the smarter, safer and easier way to use iPhone in the car and gives iPhone® users the features they want while allowing them to stay focused on the road.

Unlike Ford Motor Company, which has tried to justify its Ford Touch voice command system that’s improved but still frustrates, Hyundai already has a smooth, responsive Audio Video Navigation (AVN) system. There’s no need to scream or try to speak in a phony dialect for the Hyundai system to quickly adjust the radio, set the temperature, or make a hands-free phone call.

A spacious 8-inch touch screen will augment the user interface yielding a big screen for tired eyeballs and big icons for fat fingers. With CarPlay, Apple’s disembodied voice — Siri —  will provide drivers an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands and can be easily accessed directly through the Voice button on the steering wheel. CarPlay will work with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. It will also use Apple’s latest lightning connector that replaces the standard 30-pin white cord in previous models of all things Apple.

For more information about CarPlay, visit: http://www.apple.com/ios/carplay/.

 

OnStar’s RemoteLink added to Windows phones

OnStar RemoteLink

OnStar RemoteLink

 

BY GERRY MILES

The release hit my inbox before Steve Ballmer announced he’d resign within a year from the software giant and MSFT stock prices rose.

Having been around when OnStar was first introduced decades ago at the NY Auto Show and how great it is at helping people out of jams, notifying first responders when crashes take place and the like, the news gets better.  OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App is now the first remote telemetry app from an automaker that works on the four primary smartphone platforms – iPhone, Android, Blackberry and now Microsoft Windows phones.

(Insert Blue Screen of Death joke here)

Drivers select Microsoft Windows phones can start experiencing remote vehicle connectivity. The app is available on both Windows Phone 7 and 8 operating systems, and will be accessible in the Windows Phone Store on mobile devices.

“RemoteLink remains one of our subscribers’ most desired OnStar services, so to be able to offer it across all of the major smartphone platforms is a great step for us,” said Steve Schwinke, GM director, Application Development, Global Connected Consumer. “RemoteLink is one of the most-used automotive manufacturer apps in the marketplace and is a great example of what you can do with built-in vehicle connectivity.”

The app, GM says, is most commonly used nearly 600,000 times a month for checking vehicle data such as oil life, tire pressure and fuel level.

RemoteLink for Windows, like the Blackberry version, was written using HTML5 technology.

The app will be available for OnStar subscribers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and will support four language options: US English, Canadian English, French Canadian and Spanish.

This expansion comes on the heels of the announcement that RemoteLink’s key-fob based features – remote start, lock, unlock and horn and lights activation – would be standard for five years on all new GM vehicles. This launch means that GM drivers with select Windows phones will be able to access RemoteLink key-fob features as well. The five years of standard remote key-fob services does not include access to additional OnStar services.

RemoteLink connects to a driver’s vehicle in a secure fashion, requiring a username and password to log in and a four digit PIN to make a remote vehicle command.

OnStar subscribers can download the application and visit onstar.com to enable remote commands.

Now I wonder if the Seattle Seahawks will enjoy a similar fate as the MSFT stock price.

Who knows, maybe the Zune will come back into vogue. Nah …

Scion display audio system standard on entire line

Continuing to offer big car features in its small, somewhat quirky styled cars, Scion is making a touchscreen audio system standard on its entire lineup for 2014.

scion_my14_audio_1
All 2014 Scion models will come standard with the Scion Display Audio System featuring a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen, AM/FM/CD/HD Radio technology, hands-free phone capability, music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology and AUX/USB port with iPod® connectivity.

An 2013 xBs produced in August or later will get the new audio system as standard.

“A standard touchscreen audio system across the entire Scion lineup stays true to the brand’s innovative nature and responsiveness to the desires of its youthful drivers,” Scion Vice President Doug Murtha said.

Available BeSpoke® Premium Audio System 
scion_my14_audio_2Beyond the base audio system, all new models will offer the Scion BeSpoke Premium Audio system featuring Aha. This upgraded system features GPS navigation services, integration with popular social media applications and smartphone-compatible access to 30,000 free audio stations, including sports, news, entertainment and Scion’s own signature station with 17 music channels.

BeSpoke has an MSRP of $1,198.

For more details on the BeSpoke system visit: http://www.scion.com/BeSpoke/.

VW/Google SmileDrive app tries to put fun into your drive

SmileDrive screen

SmileDrive screen

BY GERRY MILES

Do we really want need a happy automotive app?

VW of American and Google think so.
The two have launched an Android-device enabled app alleged to promote fun and more smiles on every trip. Hey, I didn’t write that, they did. In its beta version, SmileDrive™ is ready for download exclusively in the Google Play store (www.play.google.com/store).“A lot of time is spent in the car today, whether it is for the daily commute to work or setting off with friends and family on a weekend camping trip,” said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing at Volkswagen of America. “We wanted to provide a way for consumers to add a little more flare to their road trips and a way to share the good times in their VW’s with their friends.”

SmileDrive connects to a user’s car—any kind of car—through Bluetooth® wireless technology, and runs in the background to track data for both everyday commutes and road trips. After a drive is complete, the app uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and with “virtual stickers,” for unique accomplishments.

The app has re-imagined the classic “PunchDub” game, allowing people to collect “punches” each time they see a V-Dub, using the app. Drivers cannot interact with the app, or get notifications, while the car is in motion.
Roadtrips using SmileDrive can be catalogued via photos, maps, status updates on to what is called a Smilecast: think Facebook for a VW trip with a VW app and you’re on the right page. The travels are collected on a single URL that be later be shared with friends or family.SmileDrive was conceived as part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on reimagining brand experiences for the connected world. “We’re exploring how brands can connect to consumers through a whole range of digital tools, whether that’s through ads, mobile apps, or experiences,” said Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead at Google.

SmileDrive Features

SmileDrive: Where's My Car

SmileDrive: Where’s My Car

• Seamless Sharing – The app is linked to the user’s Google+ account and friends can be invited to follow these trips online, commenting on photos and posts along the way. Everything recorded is shareable, should the user choose.

• Smilecast – Friends can either be invited to join along in the car via Google+, or watch the journey on the web. At the end of the trip, the driver receives a brief video compiling the highlights of their trip, which can then be shared with friends and family.

• Stickers – Users can earn fun, virtual bumper stickers when they unlock special achievements, such as the “Night Owl” sticker for late night drives. These can be shared on any social network.

• Punches
 – Users can play a re-imagined version of the classic “PunchDub” game. When two Volkswagen SmileDrive users encounter each other en route, the app will register a “virtual punch”.

• Smile Score – At the end of each drive, SmileDrive calculates the number of points earned while on the road. Points are a function of the number of punches, stickers earned, traffic conditions, weather, and more.

• Find My Car – By logging the vehicle’s last position, SmileDrive can help users find their car via Google Maps, and receive corresponding walking directions when available.

• Bluetooth® wireless technology – Through pairing the app with the car, drives are automatically recorded when the user starts and stops the vehicle. If the car doesn’t have Bluetooth technology, the app can be manually started and stopped before driving begins.

The app requires compatible Android device. Standard data rates apply.