OnStar relaunches itself with audio Facebook updates and voice texting

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 15, 2010

In order to take on Ford’s SYNC, GM is relaunching OnStar service for its nearly 6 million subscribers as part of firm’s long-term strategy built around ‘responsible connectivity. OnStar is planning major innovations such as Audio Facebook Updates or the Voice texting. Furhermore, GM will also launch OnStar MyLink, a sub-brand for mobile phone applications.

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac mobile apps powered by OnStar will allow owners to activate functions of their cars such as remote start, horn, lights, door locks and unlocks.

Regarding Audio Facebook updates, this function will allow OnStar subscribers to verbally update their Facebook status message through audio recordings but also to listen to their most recent news feed messages through the OnStar Virtual Advisor service. The Voice Texting, will enable customers to have their text messages read to them using Bluetooth.

As part of its relaunch, OnStar is also introducing the OnStar MyLink sub-brand for mobile phone apps. This means that the OnStar-powered mobile apps now allows owners of GM vehicles -- Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac – to activate even from a remote location all functions usually found on a conventional key fob.

This means that customers can use their smartphones to perform functions like remote start, locking and unlocking doors and operating the horn and lights. Versions of MyLink are found in the Chevrolet Volt EV with extended range capability as well as the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan.

On the other hand, OnStar unveiled its Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS) computing platform, which allows advanced geo-boxing and voice-texting engines, including Audio Facebook Updates.

Considered as one of the most powerful and comprehensive machine-to-machine telematics systems available, ATOMS is designed and tested to make sure it doesn’t distract drivers while they are behind the wheel on the road.

Moreover, OnStar is introducing its ninth generation hardware that consists of the Bluetooth phonebook as well as improved navigation and natural voice recognition. It is also compatible with geo-boxed notification services, which provide advanced traffic management and severe weather alerts.

Meanwhile, OnStar has launched its Developers Challenge, inviting university students to design the next voice-based technology that will help drivers stay connected and stay safe while behind the wheel.

Open to select universities, this Application Programming Interface (API) contest urges students from the fields of Engineering, Interaction Design and Human Computer Interaction to submit original and compelling voice-enabled app. In consonance with the contest, OnStar has launched the OnStar Developers Challenge Web site at www.onstardeveloperchallenge.com.

Press Release

OnStar Relaunches Its Brand with Focus on “Responsible Connectivity”

OnStar is launching new services, capabilities and technology for its nearly 6 million subscribers as part of a top-to-bottom realignment of the company’s long-term strategy built around ‘responsible connectivity.’

OnStar plans to pilot major innovations that significantly increase drivers’ in-car connection to the world, while extending its safety leadership in the automotive industry.

“These initiatives are all about OnStar’s role in keeping drivers and passengers connected and safe,” said OnStar President Chris Preuss. “Building on the rock-solid foundation of OnStar’s safety and security platform, we were given a clear directive to develop OnStar as one of the chief pillars in defining General Motors’ business going forward.”

“With the extremely high awareness and respect for the OnStar brand, we’ve created a long-term vision that includes new in-vehicle hardware, an all-new IT infrastructure and a host of new partnerships and services that provide the basis for growth,” Preuss continued.

Simultaneous events were held in New York, Austin, San Francisco and Miami to relaunch the OnStar brand.

New Technology Testing

OnStar subscribers and technology insiders got a first look at OnStar’s new technologies that are enabled through the ninth generation hardware:

Audio Facebook Updates: OnStar showcased in-car social media interactions that are being tested. If implemented, Audio Facebook Updates would allow OnStar subscribers to verbally update their Facebook status message through audio recordings and/or listen to their most recent news feed messages through the OnStar Virtual Advisor service.
Voice Texting: OnStar revealed beta tests for voice-based SMS (short message service). This feature would enable customers to have their text messages read to them using Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth technology allows users to connect their mobile device to their vehicle and receive automated text messages. With one button press, on the steering wheel, users can reply to a text by verbally selecting a preset response.

OnStar MyLink

OnStar announced the OnStar MyLink sub-brand for mobile phone applications. Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac mobile apps powered by OnStar will allow owners to remotely activate all functions available on a traditional key fob, including remote start, horn and lights and door locks and unlocks securely from select smartphones. Versions have already been shown for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability and the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan.

Redesigned IT Infrastructure

OnStar revealed its Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS) computing platform, one of the most powerful and comprehensive machine-to-machine telematics systems in the world. ATOMS allows for advanced geo-boxing and voice-texting engines, including Audio Facebook Updates. OnStar services are rigorously tested to ensure they are consistent with GM’s safe driver principles and help reduce distracted driving.

OnStar Developers Challenge

The OnStar Developers Challenge invites students from leading universities, to design the next voice-based technology that will keep drivers safely connected when they are on the road. The audio-focused Application Programming Interface (API) competition for select universities will allow Engineering, Interaction Design and Human Computer Interaction students to submit original and compelling voice-enabled applications. The OnStar Developers Challenge website, www.onstardeveloperchallenge.com, launched today.

9th Generation of Hardware

OnStar also unveiled its ninth generation hardware that improves the user experience with new natural voice recognition, Bluetooth phonebook, improved navigation, the ability to work with advanced traffic management and severe weather alert services, also known as geo-boxed notification services.

Furthering Its Safety Leadership

Additionally OnStar continues to enhance its core safety focus:

In coordination with the GM Foundation, OnStar is providing a grant of $500,000 to the International Center for Automotive Medicine (http://automotivemedicine.org) at the University of Michigan Health System for research related to the prediction of injury severity level after a crash. This grant, along with three years of actual OnStar crash data, will enable OnStar and the University of Michigan Health System to link crash data to actual physical injuries sustained in vehicle crashes. The revolutionary research, conducted over approximately 18 months, will look at 1,000 incidents and ultimately will allow OnStar to predict not only the severity of a crash, but assist emergency care providers by providing the probability of certain types of injuries sustained by crash victims.

OnStar, in coordination with the GM Foundation, also is providing $100,000 to the CDC Foundation to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to convene an expert panel to develop a multi-site study design in various states. The study’s purpose will be to assess the correlation of real-time injury predictions sent directly from crash data with actual injury severity. The study will set the stage for broad collaborative research directed at optimizing the potential for automatic crash notification technologies to save lives.

OnStar unveiled First Assist, an enhancement of its existing emergency services. The First Assist service allows certified Emergency Advisors to obtain critical information and provide important instructions to subscribers until first responders arrive. Emergency situations can include the aftermath of a car crash or the birth of a child. After determining the nature of the situation, Advisors can provide rapid guidance, which may result in potentially lifesaving actions. OnStar Advisors providing this service are specially trained and certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch™ (NAED) using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocol. This service, available at no additional cost to active OnStar subscribers, will complement the efforts of public safety professionals.

A New Marketing Campaign

OnStar revealed a new marketing campaign that aligns with its new business strategy.

“The new campaign retains all of the core strengths of safety and security that OnStar is known for, but also adds the idea of ‘powerfully simple connectivity,’” said OnStar Chief Marketing Officer Sam Mancuso. “The creative showcases how we provide our customers connectivity to all the things that matter most to them, like family, friends, social media tools and our OnStar Advisors.”

The campaign, created by OnStar’s ad agency Campbell-Ewald, will focus on the theme “Live On”– Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible.” Print, broadcast and online executions of the campaign launch Monday, Sept. 20.

OnStar’s new business strategy is built around a highly successful subscription model and leaves open the possibility for expansion beyond the automotive industry.

“One aspect of our business that will never change is our live Advisors who are just a simple button press away,” said Preuss. “They are what set us apart, and they’ll continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

For more information on OnStar’s innovation, the company’s recently launched marketing campaign and photos from the events, visit: http://media.gm.com/product/public/us/en/onstar/news.html

###

About General Motors

General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 208,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

 

Topics: onstar, facebook, gm

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