05 April, 2019
The world we live in is moving towards a fully-connected future. Go back even to the last decade and try to picture how we were adopting the text messages and dealing with regular emails. And now, here we are embracing connected devices and creating a very close-knit circle of smart devices. These connectivity-centric devices are making our lives look like a thing of the future, if not super comfortable. With the rapid overhaul of these connectivity-driven devices, it is safe to say that we will get surrounded by all these internet-connected things intuiting our wishes and needs even before it crosses our mind. To be honest, smart homes, connected cars, the Internet of Things were nothing more than a technical jargon that my nerdy sister was always talking about. I am not saying that I belong to the Flintstones, but rather emphasizing that I am not from the Dexter clan. Trust me when I say that I often feel weirdly arbitrary and could not trust these sensors and the internet-connected things that can be remotely controlled by an app. It seems cool to me too when I watch it in the movies and I secretly wish to have a life like that but my brain seems to lock out the technical complexities as its own defense mechanism (*chuckles*). If you are someone like me who believes that the tech is shoehorning into our foyers, then you are at the right place. I am going to lay this out for you in plain English. Recently, I attended the MG Drive.In event where Morris Garages revealed India’s first ever Internet Car, MG Hector that is soon going to be launched in India. Fortunately, the dream team behind this car was kind enough to put the specifications in the simplest layman language possible, that I am here writing this article to introduce you to this connected world. Let’s get started, shall we?
Imagine you are leaving office on a blissful evening. As you reached the basement, you could not figure out where you parked your car. So, you used the “Find my car” option on your mobile app and it directs you to the exact spot where you placed it. The head unit kicks in with preloaded entertainment content and you can glance at all the vehicle controls. You started your journey with light music and want to drive right under the stars. Thankfully, your car is connected and the mobile app lets you control the sunroof with just a few clicks. On your way home, you thought of running a few errands to the nearest grocery shop but on your way back you could not find the right route. There is nothing to worry though because the Voice Assist will guide you to your home in the shortest time and you will be home before you know it.
This is the life that we wish for. Don’t we? What if I say, it can be ours in a couple of months and not some light centuries away. With MG Hector, India’s first ever Internet Car being launched in May 2019 we can dive into the future of mobility in no time. I know, a lot of questions are crossing your mind. You want to ask “Why should we drive connected cars”, “how these connected cars will fit into our daily life”, “how the internet cars better than the normal ones”, “are the connected cars even safe”. Relax. All your queries will be answered as I unravel the connected tech features of MG Hector.
Basics first, what is the Internet of Things? Social media connects people to people. If you connect people to devices, that is the Internet of Things. Scientists all around the planet are coming up with rapid technological advancements that is making it possible for us to stay connected with our home, our cars and each and every electronic device that we own. It is also predicted that by 2020 every human being will own more than 4 devices which equal to 24 billion connected devices. Like it or not, IoT is the future. Let us now glance at the features that MG Hector comes equipped with.
iSmart Next Gen Technology
iSmart Next Gen Technology is an integrated solution of 10.4 inches Head Unit and the Operating system developed by MG India. In understandable English, you talk to the car and the car obeys your commands. The car is designed in such a way that it will always stay connected to the Internet and you can control it by Voice Assist or via a mobile app remotely. The car creates an entirely different ecosystem for the driver by offering user personalized driving options. It lets you have control over the entertainment and navigation of your car. The system is equipped with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities that will help the car in understanding your requirements and improve the driving experience for you over time. Additionally, iSmart Next Gen comes with robust security and safety features which not only includes passenger safety and cyber security but emergency responses too. Being an internet connected car, it does not comes as a surprise that iSmart Next Gen will get periodic upgrades with OTA updates.
iSmart Mobile App
iSmart Mobile App scans the MG Hector as soon as it fires up providing you details about the location and the vehicle status. With this app, you can lock and unlock the vehicle remotely, set geo-fencing, get speed alerts, check vehicle status, check fuel range, find your car, remotely switch on climate control (comes handy when your car is parked right under the Sun), fire security alerts and much more. The possibilities are endless, I would say.
Largest Head Unit at 10.4’’
The head unit of a car is everything. Practically speaking, the head unit is the brain of your car. The user interface is seamless and it is so easy to navigate through the head unit. The head unit is mounted vertically which by the way was totally alluring. The millennials prefer portrait modes more than the landscape. Thanks to the instant apps that has revolutionized the way we look at things now. The entertainment content is refreshed Over The Air (OTA updates) at periodic intervals and you can personalize the themes according to your predilections.
Just like you get regular updates on your phone when you are connected to the internet, the MG cars get the latest updates OTA. Isn’t it interesting to widen the possibilities and think of the exciting and surprising features that you might get via a quick update? It will be true to say that sky's the limit and MG India is just getting started.
Connected Mobility Via Airtel SIM
Let us make this very clear right in the beginning, MG Hector does not have the normal Airtel SIM that we use for our smartphones. So relax. The car has got an embedded Machine to Machine (M2M) eSIM with 5G ready. Airtel is the telecom partner while Unlimit and Cisco made sure to create a solution so robust that it will stay connected always. I am amazed to see how the world is getting more connected each day and now with the iSmart environment, we are connected to our cars and not insulated from the outside world. Being connected means that the iSmart system will get upgraded as soon as a new updated version is released on a global level. Now the question comes “What is the use of connected mobility and why the iSmart system should stay up to date?”. With connected mobility solution you get a plethora of services such as geo-fencing, live tracking of the car remotely, tracing and mapping, real-time navigation, OTA updates, content streaming, and automated emergency response.
Voice Assist: Hello MG
Similar to Ok Google and Hey Siri, MG India present you Hello MG, an AI based voice assistant but more powerful. This voice assistant is trained to adapt to your commands and learn to customize itself accordingly. The Voice Assist is specifically designed to understand Indian voice and accents. This is the point where I am getting playful and thinking of some hilarious commands. Hello MG, open the sunroof for me, please. Feels like the genie out of a lamp right?
Maps and Navigation by TomTom
Without a doubt, MG Hector comes with inbuilt maps and navigation solution. The best part that I came to know about the navigation solution from TomTom is that their solution gets real-time traffic data from over 600 million vehicles. This is definitely huge.
Weather by Accuweather
No rocket science. We all know what Accuweather is. How does it help in this scenario? Well, it gives the driver real-time weather updates. So, if there is a storm gushing in, you have ample time to re-route and run in the opposite direction.
Music by Gaana
Another of our favorites is the Gaana App. Luckily you get a premium account with ad-free music in your very own MG Hector car. Totally a winner for me. Start on making your smart playlists.
Concierge Services Via Pulse Hub
With the help of I-Call button, you can interact seamlessly with a customer service agent at Pulse Hub and can get a quick resolution to your queries on the go.
Safety and Security via E-Call
In an emergency, when the airbags get deployed, an automated emergency response (E-call) get triggered and it connects directly to the Pulse Hub with the exact location of the car. From there on the emergency services are taken care of by Pulse Hub. This is totally commendable. Taking care of your physical safety and security is a big step by MG India towards connected mobility.
Privacy and Cyber Security
All these features do look extraordinary but the next question that will cross your mind is “What if the system gets hacked?”. You are asking the right question here and to be honest with you, I am concerned too. To make the iSmart system impregnable, MG India has collaborated with Microsoft Azure Cloud DC to make sure all the data is safely put up in the cloud and does not violate your privacy. As far as hacking is concerned, all cybersecurity measures are updated regularly to give you all-around protection.
Infinite Experience by SAP
One of the most gruesome problems that we encounter while purchasing any product is that we find the pre-sales services compelling and the post-sales services horrible. Did it ever happen to you that you have to go from one dealer to another to get a resolution to your problem? And every time you went to the next dealer, you have to keep repeating your query. With Infinite Experience, all your queries are captured the moment you walk into an MG dealer and it gets updated at every step. This helps in quick resolution of your queries without friction.
Adobe Experience Cloud
Researching before buying is a must. MG India along with Adobe and Cognizant has made sure that you get all the information about MG Cars at a single location without hopping from one website to another.
In case, you are wondering this car could cost you a fortune, then think twice. According to initial reports, the car is priced at Rs. 15 lakhs (somewhat Rs. 20 lakhs ex-showroom price).
All serious discussions are over for now. Let us make it some fun. Features that I would love to be added on this are:
Accessibility - I strongly believe in moving forward with every individual despite their strengths and weakness. We can truly be connected if we make the cars are made accessible to the specially abled people in a way that make them independent and enjoy a good long drive.
Prevention of accidents - This is too futuristic and feels gimmicky but I am sure somewhere some scientist is already working on it. We are connecting cars to people. How about connecting cars to the surroundings so that the cars can sense the environment and prevent fatal accidents.
A whimsical display on the roof - How about making the roof of your car look like a starry sky or filled with sunshine? Just as we see in Harry Potter movies. I would totally buy MG Hector with an upgrade like that.
I hope I answered all your questions in a way that I feel is best understood. If you have a question for me, then do not hesitate to leave them in the comments section below or you can tell me if you think that MG Hector, India’s first Internet Car is the next big thing. Or you can share what feature you would like to see in MG Hector next.
Until the next time,
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