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Volvo uses crowdsourcing to improve remote application

Automaker invites users to suggest new features for the On Call app on Facebook.

By Douglas Newcomb Feb 12, 2013 6:11AM

Plenty of automakers now offer smartphone applications that allow owners to keep tabs on their vehicles and remotely operate features, such as door locks. Volvo also does this with its On Call app, which includes the basic features of other remote apps and is available for Apple, Android and Windows Mobile phones.

A recent update includes several new and unique features, and Volvo is the first automaker to use crowdsourcing via Facebook “to find inspiration for further development,” Volvo says in a statement, so that “people around the world can share and vote for their favorite feature idea."

Even though Volvo owners in the U.S. may be able to influence which features the company includes on the next version of the On Call app, they won’t be able to enjoy them – at least not yet. On Call is available in 16 countries, but not the U.S., although Volvo says, “The rollout in new countries will continue in 2013.”

If you want to have your say on which features the next update should include, go to the Volvo On Call Idea Hub on Facebook, where the automaker is asking “people around the world how new features in the app can make their life easier” and allowing them to vote for their favorite ideas. The most popular ideas for the next update will be revealed on March 5.

The features of the current update include the typical door lock/unlock, viewing the vehicle on a map and being able to honk the horn and flash the lights to help find it in a crowded parking lot. It also has a send-to-car function that allows you to select a destination from a map in On Call, within approximately 30 miles, and direct it to the car’s navigation system. Owners can also check a car’s fuel level, average mpg, mileage and trip odometer and receive maintenance reminders about items such as blown bulbs and windshield washer, brake fluid, oil and coolant levels.

Business people and obsessive drivers will enjoy the new “enhanced driving journal” feature, which records detailed data of each trip the vehicle has taken over the past 40 days. The info can also be downloaded and stored as an Excel file.

A “car in motion” feature shows if the vehicle is being driven, where it's been and how fast it's been moving. Parents of teen drivers may appreciate that most.

[Source: Volvo]

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