Tech Swap: A WiFi Connection on Wheels

Field service technicians are road warriors who often spend a lot of time behind the wheel. But those hours spent driving to the next service call (or sitting in traffic) can mean overtime for techs who need to finish the day’s work. A new wave of Internet-connected vehicles, however, could turn the service van into a mobile office.

“This year is a tipping point,” Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski tells The Wall Street Journal. “There has been a lot of talk about apps in cars, but from 2014 forward, the revolution really happens.”

Here are a few features that drivers can expect to find in their next work truck or van:

  • 4G high-speed Internet: Next year, GM and Audi are set to release automobiles with high-speed Internet and touch-screen dashboards, so drivers won’t even need to look at their smartphones.
  • In-car app store: BMW is developing an app store, similar to the iTunes App Store, to enable users to purchase mobile apps for their vehicles.
  • Vehicle data tracking: Automobile manufacturers are working with software developers to pull data from the cars themselves. “Developers imagine creating apps that track detailed gas mileage for every trip a car makes,” according to the Journal.

With these high-tech updates, field techs should no longer be stranded without a connection. Improved driver safety is another likely benefit. “Safety experts are hoping new dashboard electronics that work more easily with smartphones eventually will lessen driver distraction,” says the Journal.

h/t Wall Street Journal