U.S. operator Sprint has launched Sprint Drive, a new product that allows parents monitor their teenage children while they are behind the wheel and also gives and businesses a way to monitors their fleets of motor vehicles. Sprint Drive is a small wireless device that plugs in to a car’s steering system and keeps drivers connected to their cars while providing real-time information via a smartphone or other mobile browser.
Powered by the HARMAN Ignite automotive cloud platform, Sprint Drive features include real-time vehicle location and monitoring; trip history and aggressive driver alerts such as hard acceleration and braking; 4G/LTE Wi-Fi for in-vehicle productivity and entertainment; roadside assistance; vehicle health notification alerts, and hotline advice from certified mechanics.
Sprint Drive lets parents monitor their teen drivers with real-time tracking, follow the vehicle’s location and send an alert if the child goes beyond set boundaries. Sprint Drive also lets parents review their teen’s driving skills and habits. Sprint Drive lets business owners monitor a fleet of up to 25 vehicles, either from the office or from a mobile device. With the 4G/LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, passengers can work on emails or stay entertained by connecting up to eight devices to Sprint’s 4G/LTE network.
Starting on 21 November, customers can get the Sprint Drive device free for a limited time with a 24-month installment plan and qualifying data plan. Customers can choose either Sprint Drive Unlimited (priced at US $25.00 per month per line with Unlimited Mobile Hotspot) and Sprint Drive 2 GB (priced at US $10.00 per month per line with 2 GB of Mobile Hotspot).
IoT devices, whether consumer or business-oriented, do best when tightly targeted at specific needs. Identifying these needs is, therefore, key to success in this sector. In this case, Sprint has been asking the right questions and listening to the answers. Almost nine out of 10 parents of new drivers throughout the U.S. told the operator that they would like to be able to monitor their child’s driving habits. Sprint Drive fills that need very directly and simply, and while the idea of monitoring someone else’s movements might seem at odds with the privacy that mobile users increasingly demand, when it comes to children and parents, safety concerns come first, and parents are legally in the clear when it comes to monitoring the movements of a vehicle they own.
As for businesses, monitoring and tracking a fleet of company cars or trucks is, of course, very desirable. For both business and consumer users, Sprint is offering the service at a low price and in a way that evidently does not require any complex, bulky or invasive presence of technology in the vehicle.
For an operator to partner with technology developers such as HARMAN Ignite is a savvy move and places that operator in a position to be a player in an automotive IoT space that is occupied by many entities that are not mobile operators. As such, solutions such as Sprint Drive represent a path toward diversifying and increasing relevance. This is also a way to increase an operator’s subscriber base.