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Volvo cars will come with smartphone keys, beginning a new wave of tech

Volvo has announced that, starting in 2017, its cars will be sold with a digital car key as a standard feature. Volvo’s bold decision does indicate a trend towards assuming that customers want smart features built into their products.

volvo digital keys

Digital key on your smartphone

While smart technology is on the rise, it’s still largely considered a luxurious add-on option for most products. But that’s all about to change.

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Does everything a key can do

Volvo has announced that, starting in 2017, its cars will be sold with a digital car key as a standard feature. The Bluetooth enabled digital car key is a mobile app that does everything your old fashioned physical key used to do – it locks and unlocks car doors, and starts the vehicle. According to Volvo’s director of new cars, Martin Rosenqvist, consumers optionally “can also receive a [physical] key,” but when they sign the deal at the dealership, instead of being handed a set of keys, they’ll download the digital key onto their smartphone.

Convenience vs. Security

Some of the advantages of a digital key seem obvious. Let’s say you’re on vacation and your kid or neighbor wants to borrow your ride – you can actually send a “copy” of the digital key between devices.

However, the digital key raises obvious security concerns, as tech experts are finding smart devices to be particularly vulnerable to hacking, and even the government has admitted that it will use smart devices to run surveillance on citizens.

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Too many things can go wrong

And while it might be nice not to ever worry again about losing your car keys, you’re still in a jam if you lose your phone, or if you get caught somewhere with a dead phone battery and no charger. A locksmith won’t be able to help you if you lose your “digital key.” One wonders if all of these “smart” technologies are actually setting us up for frustration, by leaving us dependent on complicated devices that only specialists know how to repair.

A new wave of mobile tech

The digital car key also presumes that car buyers already own another piece of expensive equipment – a smartphone. Readers may be surprised to learn that, in fact, not everyone even owns a smart phone. Some of us are still using regularly old dumb phones.

Nonetheless, Volvo’s bold decision does indicate a trend towards assuming that customers want smart features built into their products.

#VolvoDigitalKey

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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  1. Pingback: FBI issues warning regarding vulnerabilities and car hacking - The American Genius

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