March 18, 2015 by

Remember when the only thing you could do with a car was drive it? You'd get in, put the key in the ignition, and take off. Maybe turn on the radio. Now, you can do pretty much anything with your car. With cloud-based services and unified communications, your vehicle can provide you with anything you can get on your cell, from directions to phone calls to apps. Anything is possible while driving with the proper equipment and plenty of creativity.

Learning the Roads

Wouldn't it be helpful if you knew how the roads were before you turned onto them? Volvo is trying to offer just that insight. At this month's Mobile World Congress, the Swedish car company announced it would be testing out its XC90 cars with its new cloud service in Sweden and Norway, known for their unpredictable weather.

These vehicles are equipped with sensors capable of reading road conditions. The data from the sensors would be uploaded to the cars' clouds, which would then be accessible from any car with a connection to the system, explained TechWeekEurope.

The information would also be sent to departments of transportation and local government. Along with monitoring road conditions, Volvo hopes to use the cloud to announce traffic and weather warnings.

Access Your Apps

In this day and age, most people have smartphones and tablets containing all the applications for all the services they could ever want. What if your car could do the same thing? Now it can. Car companies, such as Ford and General Motors, have equipped some of their cars with software that can access your apps from the cloud.

In Ford's newer vehicles, the SYNC 3 system allows drivers to use voice commands and touch screen to access their features. By downloading AppLink to their smartphone, drivers have complete control over their apps and extra features, such as Siri, according to Ford's website. Drivers can also connect to Wi-Fi, make phone calls, and use hands-free navigation.

"Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected," Raj Nair, Ford's chief technical officer and group vice president of Global Product Development, explained in a press release. "SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want."

GM's new cars feature similar smart characteristics. With CUE, Drivers can access their apps, discover the weather, and connect up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, according to GM's Cadillac website. You can also make phone calls and access online radio.

Through the use of cloud services and unified communications, car manufacturers are creating safer and more user-friendly vehicles. With newer, sophisticated technology, these systems can provide drivers with everything they could want right at their fingertips or vocal command.

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