Rogers Communications Inc. is offering a new product that will get you a connected car, even if you’re still driving an old clunker from 1998.
The Rogers Smart Drive device simply plugs into your car’s OBD-II port (usually found somewhere just under the steering wheel) and provides a Wi-Fi hotspot. Customers install a companion smartphone app called Rogers Smart Drive and sign-in with their Rogers account to setup the device. It requires a micro-SIM card and is intended to be an add-on to a mobile service place.
Rogers is selling the device for $99 on a two-year term, and the monthly subscription on its Share Everything plan is $15. Customers will get a bonus of an extra 1 GB a month for 12 months as well.
The device is built by ZTE and powered by Mojio’s open platform for connected cars.
In addition to the cellular connectivity, the device can also track a car’s location and set alerts to monitor vehicle speed. The selling point here being that concerned parents can keep an eye on how their teenagers are handling the family sedan. The data coming out of the OBD-II port can also diagnose car problems, such as providing an error code when your “check engine” light is on.
The app can also alert users if their car is hit while parked and provide maintenance reminders.
With connected car applications becoming more popular and consumers showing that they want to use data-intensive applications in the car for navigation, information, and entertainment, Rogers likely wants to test the market for this device that basically turns a car into a hotspot on wheels.
Whether the frills of the app and the separate connection point offer enough functionality over just turning your smartphone into a hot spot will be demonstrated in sales.