July 10, 2013

On June 7 Apple announced partnerships with several automakers, to finally bring your iPhone experience into the car through the upcoming release of iOS 7. At WWDC Apple said the feature would allow iOS device owners to “get the iOS interface on your car’s dashboard.”  

According to a recent article on GigaOm“AirPlay would put the Maps, Music Player, Messages app and more right on an in-car display. iOS in the Car will allow users to control their device with their voice only, playing music, asking for mapping directions, and dictating iMessages and emails and having them read aloud.”

Finally! Now this is a step in the right direction. And for those of us who are ready for connected cars, it still seems too far out into the future. Most people just don’t buy a new car every few years, and Airplay is said to be coming in only a few models starting in 2015…

So great news, but what’s missing from Apple’s announcement?  Well, from my perspective, a few key things:

  • Connectivity for the car you own today (and will for the better part of the next decade)
  • Information from the vehicle itself
  • A car that is connected to the Internet of Things that can make your life, and not just your driving, easier and more enjoyable

If you drive one of the billion or so cars on the road today, Apple’s solution is great if you plan to buy a new car (depending on your price range) otherwise I’m skeptical.  While of course everyone wants infotainment, what about a car smart enough to know when it is being driven and can auto-reply to incoming texts if you prefer to keep focused on your driving?  Or can communicate to you how it is being driven?  What about a car that can look at your calendar and automatically tell your next appointment that you’re going to be 10 minutes late?

A car that has become aware of its surroundings can anticipate and take action on your needs — like knowing when to make a parking payment and doing so automatically, saving you both time and money. And that’s what Mojio is for. Mojio is the missing ingredient: the savoury prosciutto in the Apple – car sandwich.

In every car there is literally gigabytes of data being produced each hour. Over 100 sensors and more than 30,000 programmed codes are monitoring everything from humidity, temperature, ignition timing, speed, gear position, fuel levels, engine health, airbag, crash sensors — you name it. In today’s ‘idiot-proof’ cars, about 1/100,000th of that information is displayed by a dash light that tells you nothing about the type or nature of the issue.

With Mojio installed in your car, you are effectively unlocking a wealth of information and making it available to you via apps that run on your Android or iPhone over a real-time cellular connection between you and your car. Mojio’s SDK lets developers write applications that can prevent you from being towed, before you get out of the car; that put your house into powersave mode as you leave the driveway; that tell you exactly what maintenance your car needs AND when you need a professional, that makes your service appointment automatically for you, without having to bring your car in for a diagnostic check-up.

So, I welcome the big guys into the playground because it will ultimately mean great things for us all over time. And for me, listening to these announcements makes it feel like the connected car is still a long way away.  And it just isn’t.