US telecoms provider Verizon launched a new service last month that gives any vehicle the benefits of a connected car, helping owners to avoid breakdowns by alerting and assisting them when something goes wrong.
Hum connects to a car's on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, accessing data including fuel economy, battery charge level and engine error codes. This information is then sent to the cloud. An app will notify the driver if there is a problem, explaining what the issue is, recommending repairs and advising the cost. A Bluetooth-compatible speaker provides an easy way to contact the service's mechanic hotline for bigger problems.
In the event of an accident, Hum will call to check you're okay and seek help if you don't respond. Should your car be stolen, data from the OBD port will help you retrieve it. The service can also remind you where you've parked and when the parking meter is due to expire.
Hum works with most cars (though not electric and diesel-fuelled) and costs $15 per month. Given there are around 150 million cars on the road that have no connection capabilities, this is a significant market to target, according to website Wired.
Consumers are seeking new technology that can cater to their needs without being asked. Read Predictive Tech for more on what this means for brands.