You may have noticed that Mercedes-Benz dealers can now install the new Mercedes-Benz In-Vehicle Hot Spot powered by Autonet Mobile, so folks riding in cars equipped with Autonet’s Wi-Fi router can not only bring connectable devices into those cars but actually use those devices (up to four) – inside the car when it’s moving or outside when it’s stopped.
The in-vehicle Wi-Fi connection supports laptops, smartphones, game devices, tablets and whatever else; especially iPads. “Combined with the Mercedes-Benz iPad docking station, the new Mercedes-Benz In-Vehicle Hot Spot system will allow each passenger to have their own Wi-Fi connection and screen holder for a whole new in-car entertainment capability,” says Willi Goossen, general manager, after-sales business development, Mercedes-Benz USA.
“The Mercedes-Benz customer is looking for entertainment options beyond the traditional DVD player,” adds Autonet Mobile chief executive officer Sterling Pratz. “(Mercedes) puts a quality stamp on our product,” he says. “They vetted it really hard and made an effort to put it on a fast track.” Autonet Mobile routers are also available for Chrysler vehicles; Chevrolet and Cadillac, and the Subaru Outback. Pratz says other car models will soon join the list, and the router is available from Amazon, Car Toys, and other aftermarket sources.
“(In-vehicle Wi-Fi) is a better way to be entertained,” says Pratz. “Better than DVD. When people have the Internet, they never use their DVD player. We have customers who are three-years-old watching YouTube educational videos. Parents take Eye-Fi pictures of their kids outside the car and upload the pictures immediately over the Internet.
Pratz says Autonet Mobile has worked hard to make its router more rugged and easier to use, since many connectable devices don’t include a browser. “Mom and Dad don’t want to have to be tech support reps for their kids. They just want to have devices turn on and connect.”
Besides providing Internet connectivity in cars, Pratz says Autonet Mobile is working with small fleet operators, providing driver report cards among other services. The company is also readying an applications platform for launch later this year.