July 9, 2015
One of the only things that depreciates as quickly as a car’s value is the technology inside of it: the minute it comes off the assembly line it’s outdated. Plain and simple, the technology inside that car will never be able as relevant as it is that very moment.
In fact, pretty much every car you see, even those made for ‘2016’, has outdated tech. There’s no getting around the ultimate fate that besets a car to helplessness as it slowly fades out of date.
The worst part is that cars aren’t like computers where you can just upgrade certain parts of the tech. No, you have to buy an entirely new car to get new tech, which sets us back in the beginning of this vicious cycle.
Mark Haidar diagnosed this exact scenario as part one of a major problem that he wants to solve with his company, Vinli. Part two of the problem, as identified by Haidar, is that every car spends about twelve years on the road wherein the outdated tech only gets worse.
He saw the massive gap between what we use in our day to day lives, like smartphones, and what’s inside our cars. Not to mention there’s a fragmentation within the automotive industry because each maker has their own tech platform.
Do you know how many different automotive tech platforms there are? According to Haidar, there are over 500 – talk about disjointed.
“We saw a huge opportunity, especially with everybody now talking connected car, but we saw there aren’t a lot of connected cars really. More like cars with some type of connectivity, but of the over one billion cars on the road the most aren’t connected,” says Haidar.
That’s where Vinli comes into play: it’s Haidar’s solution. Vinli is a small device that plugs into the OBD port standard on all cars near the base of the steering column to give any car the life spark of technology.
I’ll leave the shorter description up to Haidar here: “Plug it in and boom, you have a connected car.”
A two part problem required a two part solution for the team at Vinli – one half is hardware, the other is software. Obviously the hardware component is covered with the device itself, but the software side of things is where all the fanfare is.
Haidar and his team wanted to build something that could offer Bluetooth connectivity, WiFi hotspots, GPS, an accelerometer, and data gathering capability. Basically it’s all the features you already have in your smartphone.
When you plug Vinli into your car it connects to the cloud server to offer these connected services to literally any car on the road. It goes beyond just streaming Netflix though, because the team also built in crash response, roadside assistance, and analysis on the mechanical wellbeing of your car.
Vinli lays waste to this problem of unity amongst car manufacturers, bringing together all tech platforms with one, central hub. Users can download any and all apps from a store just like you would on Google Play, and they’ve opened the APIs and SDKs to developers who want to build their own apps for cars.
“Our mission is to change how people interact with their cars forever. We want to change the whole perception of tech in the car,” says Haidar.
Believe me they’re well on their way to accomplishing this task as is evident in their Indiegogo campaign. The Vinli crew has spent zero dollars on marketing, yet they hit $176,302 with 29 days left on the campaign clock: I fully expect that number to keep growing.
It’s a grassroots type of appeal that Vinli has been optimizing for since day one and it’s obviously paying off for the team. As they look towards the future they’ll work on getting Vinli embedded into the actual car, eliminating the need for a device.
I get a huge kick out of it all, because I have a Toyota Prius specifically because of the connectivity features. Don’t get me wrong I love the car to death – 50 mpg, come on – but Vinli puts the tech to shame. I think that says something pretty important right here.
Image Credit: Vinli’s video
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