Director, Marketing Communications
Director, Marketing Communications
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A Used Jaguar Full of IoT Implications

July 30, 2018 by Jason Lackey
Apple Watch app to unlock doors on a Jaguar
So you just sold your car. Did you disconnect the remote control app or is it still bound to the car?

There are a couple of things that I really like. One is technology, and that can be everything from Elon Musk’s reusable spaceships to network plumbing. I even like old tech, which is why both book and movie versions of Ready Player One were such a joy – how could you not love old TRS-80’s, Atari 2600s (one of the hardware guys in Building 4 worked on that one), Kaneda’s bike from Akira and Ultraman? I digress…

A couple years back when I leased my first EV, a Chevy Spark EV, I was delighted with a couple things – the first being the surprisingly muscular off the line performance of what by appearances should have been a raspy little penalty box. The other thing, almost as cool as spinning tires and massive torque steer, was the remote telemetry and control capabilities in the car provided by the OnStar package. I could remotely query the car and get status on miles logged, tire pressure, service needed, errors etc. I could even unlock the doors, do a remote start (yes, get that AC going before you leave the store to get into the car so it is cooled down) or blink lights and honk the horn – all through OnStar – their mobile app powered 4G service.

It is likely that you have a car that shares similar capabilities.

What happens when you move on? What happens when you sell your car?

As usual, technology outpaces the ways in which we cope with and deal with it, as is illustrated by a blog post by Matt Watts that I came across via El Reg. One thing to keep in mind about technology is that the part of the lifecycle that ends at the door of the factory from which the product was shipped is usually pretty well understood, but parts of the cycle that come after can take a little experience to get right.

Matt bought a used Jaguar, clearly a man of taste. As a techie might be tempted to do, he downloaded the Jaguar app. Things were going well until he tried to pair the app on his phone with the car in his driveway, upon which he was informed that someone was already paired to the car, in this case the previous owner.

This was obviously a bit of a problem in a couple ways, one of which being that a stranger had control over locks, climate control and other aspects of his car – on top of Matt being unable to use the Jaguar app.

Long and short of it was that after a few mis-steps that Matt was able to get things sorted with a little help from the Jaguar dealer network, but this does illustrate some very real problems that apply to the whole industry, not just Jaguar. One of which is what is how do you handle apps and online accounts that bind to some piece of hardware, be it a Jaguar or something more mundane? Does this process require doing something like going to the nearest dealer? What is there is no dealer nearby? If you allow someone to unbind someone else’s account, how do you ensure it is the proper owner?

Technology is rarely found in complete and purse isolation, rather it takes its value from interaction with humans and it is this interaction that gives it value. That said, it is these human interactions that are often not completely thought out or at least not as completely thought out as the product itself. In the end as technology matures, we’ll figure out these use cases. In the meantime, buckle up!

Looking for help testing your IoT products? We have you covered. Just don’t forget those human factors.