Sunday, November 13, 2011

WiFI on the Road

Wifi in Your Car, Not!

When it began it was only available to major universities, laboratories and the military. Then it migrated into the offices of the nation’s largest corporations. It wasn’t long before you could find it in k-12 schools and then in our homes. Going mobile, it found its way into our pocket or purse. It was only a matter of time before it found its way into our cars.

At a time when billboards and radio spots encourage people not to text while driving, adding more stuff to that LCD display found front and center in many new cars seems, at best, ill-advised. Nevertheless, automakers from Audi to Volkswagen are beginning to offer Internet based services in their new models.

With several mobile phone companies offering 4G services, enjoying a robust Internet connection while traveling at 65 mph down I-74 is now possible. Is it a good idea? Apparently several automakers think so.

A perusal of the cars section of the daily newspaper will show several companies touting their in-car wifi. Now, most are very careful to emphasize in the ads that this Internet access is for your passengers. In some TV spots the camera pans to a passenger in the rear seat working on a lap top. Another ad offers Internet radio services like to provide some music accompaniment to your daily commute.

One of my favorite TV commercials shows an LCD display on the dash of a new car replete with icons and symbols. The narrator describes how riding shotgun has never been so much fun. I have to wonder how you access all these features on the LCD screen if you are the only person in the car.

Most of us have embraced the navigation services and it seems that more people than ever are on the phone while driving. It is not uncommon to see a fellow commuter drinking coffee, putting on make up or eating an Egg Mc Muffin while driving. You may have seen someone doing all three.

So, when driving to work, don’t be surprised if you see that the “passenger” riding shotgun is really a lap top and the driver is answering email between sips of coffee.

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