As the Internet has begun to connect with everything from thermostats to watches, service techs suddenly have a new slew of gadgets to collect data and work with customers. Increasingly, the connected office is moving beyond the cubicle, and every vehicle in a fleet is rife with possibilities.
New model cars and trucks are taking advantage of the Internet of Things phenomenon to trick-out vehicles with everything from location tracking to voice command systems. In fact, nearly 5 million Ford cars already use its Windows integrated Sync technology to boost productivity and provide relevant information to its car owners. Most fleets, however, don’t have the funds to purchase new, suped-up trucks at a moment’s notice, so MIT engineering student Josh Siegel has decided to change that.
Siegel’s company, CarKnow, recently announced Carduino — a device that will plug into any vehicle’s diagnostic port to connect it to the Internet to complete certain commands like rolling up the windows automatically when the weather changes or locking the car from a smartphone app. Perhaps the most promising part of Carduino for field techs is the customizable fleet management abilities it can offer. The cloud-based software that accompanies the hardware allows for fleet monitoring in a new, customizable way. The idea of Carduino is to crowd-source the needs of the fleet, whether to track the vehicle’s movements or to monitor driver hours.
Carduino is set to go on sale early next year and Siegel tells Wired he’s excited to help enterprises figure out just how this technology can be customized specifically to each fleet manager’s technological needs.
“Frankly,” Siegel says. “I can’t wait to see what people do with their cars.”