The proliferation of smart devices is bringing Internet-based functionality and control to more and more every day activities. From thermostats and lights to home security systems, "smart" devices are slowly but surely changing the way we interact with our homes. Next on the horizon for smart tech is the way we get to and from our homes— our cars. At the forefront of this advancement, making it more seamless than ever, is the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch's ever-present nature of being just a tap away has made it an ideal controller for smart home tech ever since its launch. While it may not seem much easier than using a smartphone as a controller, every bit of added convenience goes a long way when it comes to replacing long-standing daily habits, and not having to take a phone out of your pocket could make all the difference when deciding to adjust the thermostat remotely or manually.
Car manufacturers are taking advantage of this concept to use the Apple Watch as a controller that is just as convenient as, but far more functional than, a key fob. Their apps offer users the ability to not only adjust climate control, open windows, and check whether doors are open or locked from anywhere, but also to view and analyze data from recent trips, such as gas mileage, engine diagnostics and recommended service.
Perhaps the most useful function we have seen so far is the navigation service in Mercedes-Benz's Apple Watch companion app. The app provides users with walking directions to their car, allows them to flash the lights or sound the horn if they have trouble picking it out of the lot, then seamlessly hands off navigation duties to the car's built-in GPS system. After arriving at the destination, map services transfer back to the watch for walking directions to the exact destination.
While primarily available for luxury manufacturers only (Mercedes, Porsche, BMW), these apps are starting to work their way into more affordable markets, demonstrating what a future of connected driving could look like for everyone.
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