Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Verizon Wireless Hum update provides speed and location tracking for your car
Hum, the aftermarket connected car add-on from Verizon, is about to get a little less friendly to the younger drivers in the household. An update rolling out later this month will enable geofencing and speed alert features, which are exactly what they sound like: a car's owner will be able to get notified on their phone when the vehicle leaves a pre-determined area or drives faster than a set speed.
Basically, you can't street race or head to the mall when you say you're going to do homework, because Mom and Dad will know.
Hum, which costs $14.99 per month, includes a module that plugs into a car's OBD port and a handsfree unit that can clip to a visor. Between the two — plus a smartphone app — the service offers vehicle health monitoring, roadside and emergency assistance, and stolen vehicle tracking. In addition to the location and speed alerts, this month's update will enable location tracking (a small expansion of stolen vehicle tracking) and a driving log, which measures travel times, engine idle times, and average speeds.
The product competes in a growing market for add-on connected car systems, including competitors like Automatic and Vinli, both of which use the OBD port like Hum does. All are banking on slightly different business models and degrees of functionality, though: Automatic relies on your phone's cellular connection and has no monthly fee, while Hum has no upfront equipment charge. Vinli, meanwhile, runs $199.99 upfront plus a variable monthly fee — but offers an LTE connection and in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, which Hum does not.