National Oil & Lube News

February 2017

Digital issues of National Oil & Lube News, the trade magazine for the preventive maintenance industry

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February 2017 | NOLN 29 e alert service is currently available for OnStar subscribers who own a 2016 Chevy Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette or Equinox, as well as select GMC and Cadillac models. Today's connected cars are all firmly ensconced in the ecosystem called the Internet of ings. Our vehicles have become evermore connected to the Internet — gathering and making sense of massive amounts of data from an array of sources. Basically, our cars are talking to other cars, exchanging data and alerting drivers to all of the things taking place, mechanically and systems-wise. Knowing precisely when and what needs to be serviced on a vehicle is beneficial to both owners, as well as the operators who service those vehicles. Automotive telematics — at its most basic, the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics that permits the sending and receiving of information — is a connected-car technology that's demonstrated its value, time and time again. Launched in 1995, OnStar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM. During that 20-year span, they have become a global pioneer in vehi- cle connectivity. Currently, they have more than 7 million subscribers around the world and are on four continents. Phil Colley, communications manager for OnStar and GM's Global Connected Customer Experience, mentioned the advent of 4G LTE connectivity, available in all GM vehicles sold after 2015, has allowed the company to collect and utilize "anonymized" data that enhances the driving experience. "We represent two decades of connectivity, with OnStar being em- bedded in the infrastructure and design of our vehicles," Colley said. "is is a key element in comparing our features with any aftermarket products that connect to the vehicle via the OBD-II port." It was a little over a year ago that GM rolled out two new OnStar features ahead of the 2015 North American Auto Show in De- troit. e first was an upgrade utilizing big data and analytics giving owners the ability to know which item in their vehicle was like- ly to need service next. Additionally, OnStar also provides feedback on driving habits and makes it possible for their customers to anonymously share information with participating insurance companies, like Pro- gressive, to qualify for discounts, via their Smart Driv- er program. For Chev- rolet drivers who opt-in to the OnStar P r o a c t i v e Alerts ser- vice, the ser- vice continu- ally monitors the health of the vehicle's main starting components: the starter motor, fuel pump and 12-volt battery. Proactive Alerts is offered with all OnStar service plans on eligible models, including the OnStar Basic Plan that comes standard for five years on new Chevrolet vehicles. In the future, plans are in place for Proactive Alerts to monitor additional vehicle components and expand to other Chevrolet models. "e system is sophisticated enough to distinguish between a low state of charge — which can be solved by going for a short drive — and high electrical resistance that could indicate the battery needs replace- ment," Colley said. GM vehicles are equipped with additional sensors. ese help pre- dict which parts of the vehicle will need service in the near future. While the initial focus is targeting the starting components, plans are for including additional items in the future. "We're looking at other elements in the vehicle to target, as well as introducing Proactive Alerts across the entire GM portfolio," Colley added. Proactive Alerts gathers small batches of data each time the vehicle is started and monitors it on an ongoing basis. en, sophisticated sys- tems analyze and refine billions of pieces of data, accumulated across the fleet of vehicles. If the data indicates a particular vehicle's compo- nent is not performing as expected, the system will automatically send the driver a message through an in-vehicle notification and either an email or text message, based on customer preference. is allows them to make an appointment at the dealership or their local service shop. Colley emphasized with increased competition from services like Verizon and its Hum telematics device — which services the after- market need to "smarten" non-GM vehicles that don't have access to OnStar — it will be necessary for the company to continue to innovate and be responsive to customer needs. "When we started, OnStar was about air bag deployment and vehicle security," Colley said. "Our overriding goal has been to make the ser- vice and our technology as comprehensive as possible." Because connected cars and features like OnStar collect and sort large amounts of data, privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the ever-increasing connectivity of our vehicles and the informa- tion that continues to be gathered. Have our vehicles become stalkers on wheels, collecting information on their drivers that might be used for nefarious purposes? Colley emphasized that everything GM does in collecting informa- tion is anonymous. "We take privacy issues seriously. We view ourselves as good stew- ards of the information and data we collect," he said. Colley mentioned that the initial response from customers has been positive. "While anecdotal, in talking to customers, they enjoy seeing the fu- ture — it also allows us to do a lot from a dealer perspective in terms of building relationships with vehicle owners," he said. OnStar has evolved well beyond safety and security — still essen- tial elements — to where they are now, a global leader in offering cus- tomers data-driven insights into a whole host of issues related to their vehicles, including awareness of impending maintenance issues long before they impact a vehicle owner's ability to start and drive their ve- hicle. With Proactive Alerts, the industry's first predictive technology, GM has enabled its vehicles to warn owners about a potential mainte- nance need before it occurs. S

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