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Chevrolet introduces unlimited data plan for select vehicles

Car manufacturer Chevrolet is offering an affordable unlimited data plan to Chevrolet owners in the U.S. with an in-vehicle OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a major advancement for an automobile sector bent on connectivity.

Starting this week, Chevrolet drivers who have the appropriate technology in their automobiles can purchase an unlimited prepaid data plan for $20 per month. The new data plan will be made available courtesy of a partnership with AT&T, which has been leading the charge in connected car technology in the past year.

?Ubiquitous connectivity in vehicles has a number of far-reaching opportunities for marketers,? said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. ?First, we?ll see voice and gesture controls become a new and viable medium from driver engagement, new experiences may include anything from traffic routing, making reservations, ordering dinner on the way home and more. 

?For passengers, the experiences will only be limited by car and mobile developer?s imaginations. There will be new opportunities for advertising, messaging and communications, content streaming, especially for those services that can leverage the individual?s context (e.g. calendar, direction, speed, personal intent, and interests, etc.).?

Unlimited data plan
Chevrolet will begin offering the new data plan to all of its ongoing retail lineup, meaning that the manufacturer will begin to emphasize the implementation of connected car technology (which comes standard on all new Chevrolet retail models) as a way to justify both AT&T?s investment and its own.

The offering is more a response to demand than anything: Last year, Chevrolet owners in the U.S. used more than 4 million GB of data, and used 200 percent more OnStar 4G LTE data in their vehicles compared to 2015. In the second half of 2016, Chevy owners used almost as much data as they had the previous 24 months since OnStar 4G LTE launched.

The data plan will be offered on all new retail models

Chevrolet data usage has increased exponentially as owners have come to use it for a variety of activities, including streaming video, sending emails on laptops or even playing online using a gaming console in their vehicles.

?Vehicle manufacturers and their partners have decades of experience in developing and ensuring that new features, like connectivity, are safe,? Mr. Becker said. ?In fact, safety is one of the primary use cases for adding connectivity to vehicles, as vehicles can notify authorities automatically in the event of an accident or theft. 

?The industry will need to be ever vigilant, however, as it introduces new and unexplored uses cases. Safety and security must be top of mind, especially when it comes to ensuring that vehicles can not be hacked or leak personal data.?

Connected cars
AT&T has been making waves in the development of connected cars. The company?s latest round of investments evince a serious interest in the technology, and also include a partnership with Honda during a time when the auto manufacturer is making similar forward-looking investments (see story). 

Ford is also extending coverage of its mobile-connected cars to a wider range of consumers by offering a new device that retrofits older vehicles to be just as mobile-connected as modern ones (see story).

All new retail offerings from Chevy will come equipped with 4G LTE technology

?There are countless opportunities for society as a critical mass of connected vehicles find their way on the road,? Mr. Becker said. ?There is the potential for improved traffic monitoring and metering, real-time road conditions measurement and reporting (e.g. a car can automatically report a pot hole), increased fuel efficiency, more efficient parking and notifications, enhanced driver distraction monitoring and solutions, weather and air condition monitoring, predictive repair and maintenance intelligence handled by each vehicle and so much more. 

?There may also be a wide range of new externalities, including privacy implications, new insurance, and business models, changes in ownership models as more autonomous driving models become a reality, unforeseen legal issues as current laws and regulations are not prepared for all the eventualities that may arise.  In aggregate, I foresee the net benefit outweighing the negatives, but in the short-run, at an individual level, this may not be the case. We have a lot to learn.?