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Driving at the Speed of 4G

Blogging from Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona

Actually, the only thing 4G won’t accelerate is the driving speed of the LTE-enabled Cadillac, which will hit the market next year in the United States and Canada. In a demo this week in Mobile World Congress’ Connected City in Barcelona, General Motors’ Mark Fry talked me through some of the car’s 4G features.

First off, making use of 4G’s superior video-streaming capabilities, with AT&T providing the 4G LTE mobile Internet access, there are four cameras around the car which can send constant updates to your mobile device, showing you exactly what’s happening to your car after you left it. (No more worries about leaving your vehicle in a dodgy neighborhood.)

And then inside there’s a 4G-connected camera focused on the back seat so that passengers (not the driver — he or she still has to concentrate on actually driving), can hold a videoconference on the road. You can also lock and unlock your car from your mobile device and remotely start the engine and keep it running for 10 minutes.

Surprisingly, there were no screens mounted on the back of the front seats, but Fry explained that GM was assuming that people prefer watching content on their own devices, rather than a small screen on the back of a seat. With the car acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the car’s entertainment system integrated with AT&T’s U-verse service, passengers will be able to access any content they want from the cloud. Fry said:

“This is the biggest advantage of the 4G enablement… You don’t have to worry about forgetting to download anything, you’ll always have 4G in the car.”

According to Mary Chan, GM president, Global Connected Consumer, “By adding a fast, reliable and built-in 4G LTE connection specifically designed for vehicles, we can drive innovation to enhance virtually every aspect of the driving and riding experience — from safety and diagnostics to entertainment to integration of emerging third-party applications.”

In fact the GM SDK (software developers’ kit) also offers a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after purchase.

The 4G enablement won’t be limited to Cadillacs, most Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles will also be offering this service.

As of yet, there have been no details as to the pricing of the data service for the cars, but don’t be surprised if your automobile simply gets turned into just another mobile device to be added to your monthly data bill.

More Stories By Jeff Barak

Jeff Barak is the corporate editor at Amdocs and regularly posts on the company's thought-leadership blog Amdocs Voices. Before joining Amdocs in 2008, he worked in print journalism for more than two decades.