For the road warriors out there, the 2017 Chicago Auto Show revealed that automakers are going all in on technology to support today’s mobile work habits. This can be seen in the widening circle of manufacturers offering Wi-Fi packages and services in their vehicles, providing internet access to network resources, collaboration tools, cloud-centric productivity suites – whatever on-the-go workers need to get the job done.
With this battle for automobile-provided Wi-Fi heating up, here’s a guide to what’s on the horizon from the big automakers.
Ford Motor Company will be rolling out an impressive Wi-Fi hotspot option starting with the 2018 Ford Expedition. Want to take the team out for a working lunch? This is the ride for you – enabling up to 10 devices to connect via 4G LTE from a single vehicle, and offering a 50-foot range of connectivity. (Though, with the average consumer owning 3.64 connected devices, you may have to leave some of the team behind.) Sync is paired with AT&T, so drivers will need to purchase a data plan if they don’t already have one.
When it comes to Wi-Fi, Chrysler’s Uconnect multimedia service goes head-to-head with Ford, allowing up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices to pair up. An additional Wi-Fi hotspot service, offering an impressive 150-foot range, is also available, allowing those conference call attendees who can’t sit still in the car the option to park and roam around outside.
Offered through OnStar, Chevrolet’s 2018 lineup will provide wireless hotspot access and the ability to connect a respectable seven devices. Drivers without data plans will need to go through AT&T to take advantage of this option. The myChevrolet mobile app allows you to easily monitor your car’s data plan from anywhere.
Toyota continues to build on its feature-rich infotainment system. Its Wi-Fi Connect option allows pairing of up to five mobile devices using 4G LTE, and will be first offered in the 2018 Toyota Camry. Entune has a number of other impressive features, including remote start and door unlock capability, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor and vehicle finder – all great time-savers for busy professionals rushing from meeting to meeting.
Honda makes no effort to compete directly in the battle of the Wi-Fi. Instead, its flagship minivan is offering something different – a high-tech passenger experience. On the road with your work team and need to host a meeting pronto? This is the vehicle for you. To start with, it offers the option of 4G LTE Wi-Fi and hotspot connectivity. There’s a 10.2-inch WSVGA rear entertainment system for the second- and third-row seats – perfect for sharing your slide deck! Cabin options include acoustic glass, triple-door seals and Active Sound Control system, all working to keep road noise to a minimum so everyone can hear your key customer talking points. And even the driver can weigh in on important discussions via CabinTalk, a microphone system in front that broadcasts to wireless speakers located throughout the cabin.