Spent last week in Sweden, where the highlights included a good briefing from Volvo Cars which included a session about its smartphone-enhanced telematics service, Volvo On Call. The telematics service has been available for around 14 years, though obviously the smartphone app as a control system is rather newer. One of the main use cases for the telematics service is to allow Swedes to turn on the car heater so as to warm the vehicle up without having to leave the house; it’s easy to scoff at this sort of thing if you haven’t experienced the Scandinavian winter.
On the flight back I discovered (via the in-flight magazine – who says there’s no point in reading them?) that there is an after-market alternative via the Norwegian company DEFA, which does pretty much the same thing – warm up the engine, the interior of the car, and charge the battery. It seems to require that you add new physical devices to the car though – a new heater, a new battery charging system, an engine pre-heater.