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Verizon Hums a Driving Tune

Sarah Thomas
8/26/2015

After nearly a year of beta testing, Verizon's aftermarket vehicle device, designed to bring connectivity to any car, is ready to hit the road. The carrier announced the commercial launch of the device, called hum, and subscription service Wednesday.

The self-install hum device provides drivers with diagnostic information, roadside assistance and access to mechanics and emergency personnel via a smartphone app connected over Bluetooth to an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) first announced the OnStar competitor in January under the moniker Verizon Vehicle. (See Verizon Vehicle Races to Catch Up to OnStar.)

The Verizon hum includes an onboard diagnostic reader plugged into the vehicle's OBD port, a Bluetooth-enabled device clipped to the visor and a smartphone app that uses LTE and GPS to provide connected car services.
The Verizon hum includes an onboard diagnostic reader plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, a Bluetooth-enabled device clipped to the visor and a smartphone app that uses LTE and GPS to provide connected car services.


For more on connected cars, visit the dedicated automotive content section here on Light Reading.


Hum provides the same level of information about cars that fitness wearables do about health, Verizon Telematics CEO Andrés Irlando said in announcing the technology. Verizon is charging $14.99 per month plus taxes, fees and equipment for the first vehicle with a two-year contract. Customers can add more cars at a lower cost. (See Verizon Focuses on Cashing In on LTE.)

Hum is just one of several ways Verizon is taking on competitors like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in connected cars. By making an aftermarket device, the carrier can reach the more than 150 million cars that are already on the road -- and unconnected -- today. It is a complement to other efforts, which include a focus on driverless cars, built-in LTE connectivity with partners like Mercedes Benz, a ZipCar-like car rental service, partnerships with insurance providers and more still to come. (See Verizon Builds Driverless Cars Their Own City, AT&T Clinches M2M Market Lead With GE Deal, Verizon Creates a Mobile ZipCar and Verizon Spends $612M for a Future in Cars.)

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

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MikeP688
MikeP688
10/27/2015 | 11:44:52 AM
Re: Talking to your car
As I read through this, I could not help but think about this 60 Min Segment:

http://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/video/o1dstng8hbs_e6tcOu8XUv5f6hmGXfhL/hands-off-the-wheel/

The lofty goals and the technnology was amazing to showcase.   But I hope all agree that There are a lot of questions still to be answered for sure--but the march to a driveless car can't be stopped.    This latest from Verizon continues our quest to "Crawl before we walk".     Do we have the courage to let go?  Then what?   That's the bottom line question.
danielcawrey
danielcawrey
8/28/2015 | 10:58:09 AM
Re: Talking to your car
This is just another step toward driverless car technoogy. I can't wait for that to happen because it will make myself and many others a lot more productive. It's going to be game breaking technology as connected car tech matures. 
MordyK
MordyK
8/27/2015 | 7:30:54 PM
Re: Talking to your car
While the auto mfg's may not be compltely removed from the equation, it is still the wish of either carriers and the OS providers to gain the upper hand IMO.
KBode
KBode
8/27/2015 | 2:39:28 PM
Re: Talking to your car
Which auto dealers sell to insurance companies. Yes.

But is Verizon's ability to connect a cellular radio to the OBD port providing another avenue entirely for this data's sales?
MordyK
MordyK
8/27/2015 | 2:33:23 PM
Re: Talking to your car
@KBode that's derived and transmitted by the OS.
KBode
KBode
8/27/2015 | 1:58:53 PM
Re: Talking to your car
Not just a battle for the OS, but for auto location and performance data. Insurance companies pay a handsome penny for that kind of data....
MordyK
MordyK
8/27/2015 | 12:23:33 AM
Re: Talking to your car
This is a battle over ownership of the car's OS, which reminds me very much of the payments wars.

In the car scenario there are three primary parties fighting over the control over the cars brains and interactivity:

1. Car Mfg. - they do make the car after all.

2. Telco - They provide the connectivity and have been fighting in every new market to play a role and not be relegated to the dump pipe of connectivity.

3. The OS people - Goole's Android and Apple's iOS are attempting to gain control of the brains of the car.

At the moment there are no clear winners, as the car mfg's still control the CANBUS and ODT-II is still limited, Carriers provide the connectivity - and in Verizon's case an OS of sorts with Hughes Telematics, while the OS guys bring their OS and their developer ecosystem/communities.

In the payments game it was Payment networks (=car mfg's), MNO's and Phone MFG's/OS providers (pre-smartphone they were still the same). Ultimately the OS providers won.

Who will the car's intelligence and revenues? time will tell...
steve q
steve q
8/26/2015 | 11:33:27 PM
Re: Talking to your car
Verizon still missing the boat customer still not able to use any wifi devices will in a car , but they like to copy other products to put there name on.
mendyk
mendyk
8/26/2015 | 3:42:51 PM
Re: Talking to your car
I have to wonder how much due diligence Verizon did regarding market research for its new service. It's hard to see anything beyond negligible demand for something like this at the proposed price.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
8/26/2015 | 3:34:42 PM
Re: Talking to your car
Woah, it's more expensive than I thought. I think most of these kinds of things need to be sold with the car. You're more likely to cough up more money in the name of safety and security when you're already writing such a big check. I imagine people are less likely to add it on later.
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