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The Connected Car: From crowdsourced apps to in-car Wi-Fi

This feature was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and OnStar. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

With each passing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and major tech unveiling, we as a culture continue to move along the path toward a completely connected world. From the quantified self to the increasingly accessible smart home and connected car concepts, the upward trend toward the creation of a genuine "Internet of Things" is without a doubt one the biggest drivers in consumer technology today.

Being Connected with one's technology increases functionality, efficiency, and confidence...


We have reached a turning point, where the general population has stopped looking at connectivity with a raised eyebrow and instead has learned to embrace it for all that it can do and will be able to do in the future. And rightly so. With proper execution, being connected with one's technology increases functionality, efficiency, and confidence, allowing the user to remain informed at all hours regardless of location.

Though there are many impressive crowdsourcing apps, Waze is one that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Replacing VCR-era, dashboard-mounted scanners, and CB radios, Waze delivers information on traffic, road hazards, and locations in addition to updates on the fastest route to the user's destination in real time. By putting power in the hands of the public — a body of drivers equally interested in getting where they're going via the fastest and safest way possible — such apps positively change the way we interact with our cars.

The Car as Tech Hardware


While specialized apps can be an endlessly helpful, the car itself is a space more deserving of immediate focus. After all, shouldn't your most trusted possession be the most connected as well? Thanks to ongoing innovations in the field of in-car 4G LTE and Wi-Fi availability — not to mention cars equipped with parking assistance technology — the future is coming quicker than many had initially thought.

While the increasingly crowded tech startup space gets plenty of attention when discussing the future of connectivity in the automotive world, at the core a modest number of brands have championed connectivity for decades. OnStar, for example, first debuted their iconic blue button in cars over 17 years ago — well before the advent of "smart" terminology ever existed. And though we as a burgeoning tech culture look to the youth and emerging brands as light bearers of the future, brands like OnStar paved the way and continue to introduce important advancements toward strengthening the connection between the car, its driver, and the world around them.

"Many consumers desire a more personable, empowered experience, which OnStar has offered since day one."

4G LTE availability and Wi-Fi hotspots (that work with the RemoteLink mobile app) are a major innovation for drivers and passengers alike. Never again will you want for directions, miss an important email, news story, or friend's status update. Further, many consumers desire a more personable, empowered experience, which OnStar has offered since day one.

A real person at the push of a button is invaluable in troublesome roadside circumstances, meanwhile stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation deliver an unparalleled sense of peace of mind. Quality service shouldn't entirely focus on solving situations after they arise. Prevention is key, which is why OnStar's ability to monitor engine performance and send diagnostic information to the cloud — and then on to your mechanic — to ensure your car is ready for the road at all times. With such a long list of impressive capabilities and integrated forward thinking innovations, one might say the car of the future is already here.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and OnStar. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.


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