BMW was one of the first brands to link its cars with smartphones. The BMW Connected app was one of the first of its kind, allowing owners to lock, unlock and set the climate control on their car, remotely, from their smartphone. This was revolutionary and really opened the doors for a lot of other features and functions. It also sprung other automakers to follow suit, such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. But the Bavarians are taking it a step further with the new Connected+ app.
With the new BMW Connected+ app, owners will be able to connect and communicate with their car even further. For instance, they will be able to send navigation directions from their phone to their car. So if you’re home and want to look up directions for a road trip the next day, you can do so ahead of time and have it all pre-loaded on your car, ready to go. So there’s no wasting time punching it in one the day of your trip. Though I’m curious if this will work with an exact route or just a destination. For instance, there’s often a disparity between Google Maps and BMW’s navigation system, with the route it chooses. It would be nice if the exact route is sent to the car, making for less confusion.
Another feature is a trip-sharing ability, allowing friends and family to monitor your trip. So, for instance, let’s say you’re taking a long road trip to visit family members that live a few States away. Along your journey, those family members can actually monitor your progress via a private website and they can get continuous updates from it on your progress. So maybe one of your family members realizes you’re going to be passing a great spot for lunch they know of. They can text you and say “Hey, stop at this place on your way, you’re right by it”.
One of the features that the Connected+ app can bring is one that’s been advertised quite a bit by BMW already. Have you seen the commercial featuring Scott Eastwood, who is able to use the 5 Series Remote 3D View function to spot paparazzi by his car. The system uses all of the car’s cameras to build a 3D image of the car and its surroundings, which can be viewed through the app on a smartphone. It’s a good way to monitor your car, remotely and it works quite well.
BMW is going to continue to increase what the Connected+ app is capable, as well as update what its cars are capable of. In the old days, and current day to be honest, when a car is developed, that’s pretty much how it’s going to be until its mid-cycle refresh. What BMW, along with many other automakers, is trying to do is to make it that when a car is developed, it’s only beginning its life. “The thinking has been that when the car leaves the factory it’s done,” says Dieter May, BMW’s senior vice-president of digital services and business models. “No, that’s when it starts to live.”
So using cloud-based connectivity, BMW will be able to continuously update and add features to its cars as their life cycles go on. This could create longer life cycles for cars, as they will only be limited by their hardware in what they car do. Systems will be continuously updated, features will be added and connectivity will be increased.