The Internet of Things (IoT) started with people connecting things just because they could. Now they are connecting objects because it makes sense. If you look at the IoT trends that are gathering momentum today, you can see that the focus is increasingly on products that make your life easier, safer, and help you save money.
The IoT changes everything
The Internet of Things has huge benefits for consumers and businesses alike:
• For consumers, it can be a time-saving, security-enhancing tool that makes life easier. For example, connecting a simple device like a smoke detector can actually save lives. One out of three deaths in home fires occur because the battery was removed from the smoke detector after it started making an irritating noise signaling a low charge. Now, an app can simply send you a friendly reminder when the battery is low, so you can replace it without aggravation.
• For businesses, the Internet of Things can be a great way to gain more visibility. Until now, companies whose employees drive service vehicles could know where each trip started and finished, but not how the drivers were behaving. If drivers are speeding through school districts, running red lights, or driving aggressively, that reflects poorly on the company. As the IoT is brought into cars, firms can now coach their employees in responsible driving.
Of course, there are also challenges associated with the IoT. One of the main concerns tends to be “big brother” – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When “big brother” saves lives, money, and takes pain out of your day, we think it’s a force for good. One great example is from the insurance industry, where the first connected car experiments have tested usage-based driving discounts. Another growing trend, which car rental companies have begun implementing, is identifying where and when accidents happen, and using this analysis to recommend alternative routes. The Internet of Things is not about watching people: It’s about taking data, making sense of it, and making lives safer and easier while saving money in the process.
Connected cars – powered by information
Connected cars are a global market that is strongly focused on optimizing the driving experience, but preferences do vary from country to country. In the Czech Republic, for example, safety and security are very important. In South and Latin America, too, we’ve seen a great deal of interest in answering questions like: Has my car been bumped? Has it been stolen or tampered with? In other countries, people share cars. Millennials in North America no longer feel emotionally connected to their vehicle, it’s just something that gets them from point A to point B. Two or three people can share one vehicle, and the main challenge is keeping everyone informed about where the car is and who has the keys at any given time. Visibility is essential here.
The more universal question is: How can I save money when my car has a problem? Today, when there’s a problem with your car, an orange “check engine” light appears on the dashboard – and that’s it. All you can do is take it to a mechanic and trust him. What we do is decode the information hidden inside the car and tell you exactly what’s wrong. We don’t just let you know the severity of the problem, but also tell you how much the repair should cost. Information is power, and that’s what we provide.
An open solution to make “dumb” cars smart
When we started Mojio, we had to decide whether to build our own hardware or just make the software and focus on the platform. At the time, most of the available hardware was expensive, none of it was perfect, and the temptation was to design and build our own. Unlike our competitors, however, we decided to focus on the platform. Absolutely all of our efforts and investment went into building an open, scalable platform that is “hardware-agnostic”.
Our solution now makes it possible to connect any old regular car, which we would call a “dumb” car. There are half a billion of these on the roads today. I believe that in the future, many of them will be connected and sharing information with new, autonomous vehicles. It will become common for both new and existing cars to be connected. These smart cars will save you time and money on things like insurance or maintenance. You will also have more visibility and become a better, safer driver thanks to the information available to you.