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  • General Motors: Influencing Technology More Than You Think

    [caption id="attachment_2898" align="alignleft" width="342" caption="OnStar by General Motos"]General Motors[/caption]

     

    When you think of technology, words like Apple, smartphone, cloud software and social media are sure to pop up. But what about General Motors? General Motors is making headlines in incorporating technology more than you think. David Pogue of the New York Times discusses more in his article "OnStar for All Who Have the Wherewithal."

    General Motors as, ahem, the living definition of a technologically nimble company. But deep in the G.M. archipelago of cars, parts and wholly owned subsidiaries there sits a technological gem: OnStar.

    OnStar is a seamless brew of cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, microphone, speakers and human operators. Its feature list includes both safety and convenience elements. For example, if you crash, sensors wirelessly alert a 24-hour call center staffed by 2,000 OnStar operators. They immediately talk to you over the built-in speaker. If you don’t respond, or if you say something like, “My legs are broken in six places,” they automatically send an ambulance. They know exactly where to send it; they can see where you are, and they know what kind of car you’re driving.

    ccording to OnStar, 4.5 million G.M. owners so far have liked their free six-month OnStar trial so much, they signed up to pay for it.

    For 15 years, you could get OnStar only in a G.M. car. Now, however, OnStar is available as a rearview mirror that goes into almost any car.

    It’s called the OnStar FMV, which, we’re told, stands for “for my vehicle.”

    The OnStar FMV may be the world’s most useful rearview mirror, but it’s probably also the most expensive: $300 plus installation. Best Buy, for example, will sell you the mirror and install it for $374 complete.

    For my testing, OnStar lent me a Toyota Camry with the mirror installed. (That’s right. G.M. gave me a Toyota.)

    After the installation, an unobtrusive wire runs up the windshield from the mirror, around the door molding and down to a control box in the footwell. The mirror itself looks great, at least from the front; only a few nicely integrated buttons distinguish it from the original mirror. From the back or the side, you see that it’s chunked up with internal components.

    Read more at The New York Times

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