Welcome to a new segment of my blog here on More Than a Fan Wheels. I will be working with Verizon Wireless to bring you information about how they are introducing new technology to the Verizon IndyCar Series. From efficient use of their networks at the tracks themselves, to new products and technology available to you, the fan & consumer, to reviews on products and feedback from first-hand experiences, Track Tech will give you insight into this amazing title sponsor of the race series we all love so much. I hope you enjoy!
This past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I was invited to take part in the Verizon Wireless Tech Tour. We started in the IndyCar Fan Village, visiting the Verizon Wireless tent & displays and ended up at the Verizon Technology Showcase in the IMS Pagoda. This tour gave an in-depth look at the new technology currently available through Verizon Wireless as well as up-and-coming consumer products that are currently being used exclusively by partners such as motorsports teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
It seems fitting that the first product we were introduced to was created for a car! The Delphi Connect is a system that allows you to take care of your vehicle and keep your family safe from a diagnostic standpoint as well as simple solutions to issues like locking your keys in the car or finding your car in a huge parking area – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield for example! The ability to know what your car needs when that “check engine” light goes on, without having to schedule an appt and take it in to the shop, makes this device worth the purchase price all on its own. You can see these diagnostic issues quickly with your smartphone or other Verizon Wireless device such as a tablet and then make a decision on how to handle things from there. This allows you to better utilize your precious time and also helps you have an understanding of what needs to be fixed on the car before you even pull it into your neighborhood mechanic’s garage, which will help you keep that budget under control.
Do you have teenagers? Are they borrowing your car to get to work, school or just hang out with friends? With Delphi Connect, you can receive notifications if the car exceeds a particular speed, or if it goes outside the particular range you were expecting. Having this feedback allows you to keep track of how that new teen driver is doing and gives them the freedom to learn and receive direction from you without having you in the car with them for every trip. Of course, you can use this feature to learn about your OWN driving habits as well… we are never too old to learn something new or improve our driving skills!
The Delphi Connect is available for $99. You will receive a $5 monthly charge from Delphi on your Verizon Wireless bill. If you are interested in making your vehicle a hotspot, there is an upgraded Delphi Connect you can purchase for $199 and you must also have a data plan through Verizon Wireless that the product will use to link up your devices. For more information on Delphi Connect through Verizon Wireless, please click here.
The next display we were introduced to gave us a glimpse at how a connected home could not only help protect your family and your belongings and allow you to effortlessly live a more green lifestyle, but how it could make your home a truly customized and one-of-a-kind product. The first item we learned about was the Philips Hue Lightbulb. Now, you may be thinking… how can a lightbulb really create a custom look in my home? Well, this isn’t your typical 3-levels-of-light bulb. Hue allows you to customize the light from a spectrum of 16 million colors, in addition to the shade, intensity and all while helping you lessen your carbon footprint! Hue lightbulbs from Philips, last nearly 14 years with typical use. That’s roughly 13 years longer than the average bulb you find in homes today.
Once you have the lighting perfect, the next natural step would be the temperature. The Nest Home Thermostat allows you to customize your air preferences through the day. If you’re like me, you enjoy having the windows open with a nice breeze during temperate Spring days, but at night you like a cooler bedroom to help you fall asleep in comfort. You can schedule these kind of changes into the Nest and it will take care of these things for you – no more getting ready to fall asleep just to remember that you have to go downstairs and set the temp lower. Nest does it for you. Nest also learns your habits and creates a more energy-efficient system when the house is empty. Using a fan system, it allows air-conditioning units to turn off for a portion of the day and still keep the house cooled down. The Nest will help you save on these heating & cooling bills every month without you or your family having to sacrifice comfort.
The other thing that your family should never have to sacrifice is safety & peace of mind. The Belkin NetCam HD can provide that feeling of security whether you are at home or away on vacation. The difference between the Belkin NetCam HD and a standard security camera, is that by pairing with Verizon Wireless, this NetCam can notify you by email or text message when motion is sensed. The streaming HD video gives you insight into your home – so you can keep an eye on that new puppy and make sure they don’t get into too much mischief or you can just check in to make sure everything is sound when you’re not home to check on things in person. You can never be too safe and having an eye on things at home by simply checking your Verizon Wireless smartphone or tablet is priceless.
Speaking of price, how is that electric bill treating you every month? The cost of leaving electronics on all day long can really add up. And the consequences not only hurt your bank account, but your environment as well! Want a fool-proof way to make sure your budgetary surprises are not caused by unnecessary electricity use? Pick up the Belkin WeMo Switch and remotely control your power outlets from your smartphone! No more leaving the curling iron plugged in and creating a fire hazard, no more coffee pot left to brew and forcing you to turn around during your already hectic commute – simply turn the outlet off from the convenience of your car or office or wherever you happen to be when you realize your mistake! Living a greener life (monetarily & environmentally) is only a few clicks away – purchase these items and many more directly from Verizon Wireless by visiting their home accessories site.
ISIS MOBILE WALLET
Our last stop at the Verizon Wireless tent in the IndyCar Fan Village was the ISIS Mobile Wallet display. This new technology allows you to program your payment methods directly into your smartphone and make payments at retailers without having to carry around physical credit cards or cash. Having payment methods so concise, secure and efficient is exactly what we are all looking for – especially on weekends like this one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You can make a payment with ISIS as long as your phone has NFC-capability (Near Field Communication) and your retailer participates in contactless payment… over 200,000 locations across the country participate so more likely than not, you’ll be able to use ISIS at your favorite shops and restaurants!
Of course, security is always a concern with new technology – Verizon Wireless and the creators of ISIS Mobile Wallet realize this and have taken a multi-faceted approach to keeping your information in only YOUR hands.
We’ve all had that panic-inducing moment when we can’t locate our purse or wallet. Imagine if that happened at a place as large as IMS – you might not even know where to start retracing your footsteps. But you can rest easy if you are using ISIS. Your information and payment options are safe – they are PIN-protected, keeping the mobile wallet closed until you enter your personal code. And if your phone ends up lost or stolen, you can freeze the wallet, guaranteeing your information is locked down and safe from anyone trying to use your cards. This kind of instant protection is not available with physical credit cards so ISIS is definitely the safer way to pay.
Less to carry on race weekends, guaranteed protection for your hard earned money and all in the convenience of that smartphone you are already so attached too? ISIS Mobile Wallet is a “no-brainer”! Go here to check that your phone is compatible and ISIS-ready, and learn how to download the ISIS mobile app now!
4G LTE MULTICAST
Our group headed up to the famous IMS Pagoda for the second half of our tour. The Verizon Technology Showcase was just as impressive as its name sounds – from the digital introduction from Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya to the augmented reality of winning the P1 position in the Indianapolis 500, there were multiple features & displays to learn about Verizon’s technology – present and upcoming.
For me, the most exciting part of the tour was learning about the LTE Multicast. This is a new system currently used by Verizon IndyCar Series teams allowing them to see different perspectives from the car (inside, out and around) that previously were never possible to analyze. These new vantage points give the driver, the team and the engineers opportunities to critique and change elements of the car or the driver’s habits that in the past were never even a conceivable notion. This kind of technology has the power to change the way the team sees the sport, how they observe a lap and allows them to make decisions that could save them a fraction of a second on a qualifying run… and in IndyCar, that fraction of a second is what can separate a winning run from a disastrous crash.
LTE Multicast is currently only available on the private partner network but the goal of Verizon Wireless is to extend this technology to the consumer in the near future.
We discussed how our “set up” is different when we are physically at the racetrack and when we are watching the race from the comfort of our own home. The biggest difference is the amount of technology readily, and steadily, available to us. When I watch a race at home for example – I have my flatscreen television in front of me, my laptop on the coffee table with multiple tabs open (IndyCar Scoring & Timing, Twitter, Facebook and Google usually), and of course my Verizon Wireless Blackberry. I utilize all these technologies to stay up to date with the race, the stats, my updates to followers and fans, and I’m able to take notes for my upcoming columns by having Microsoft Word open as well. The difference between that “mass set-up” and how I experience the race in person is very different. At the track I can usually only see the portion of the track that I am sitting directly in front of and my connection is limited to the Twitter & Facebook apps on my phone… quite a drastic difference in content.
The goal of Verizon is to provide the racing fan, their consumer, with a different kind of Multicast. It would still provide views from the car and around the car but you could also have the network broadcast live on your Verizon Wireless device, in addition to full access to your social media pages to pull information and post first-hand experience. Imagine having all that in the palm of your hand as you’re watching the Indy 500 LIVE from your seat in Tower Terrace. Pretty cool, huh? Oh, and I am guessing you are having the same thought I had initially… that this kind of access would probably lead to crowding the network and you looking at that “buffering” symbol more often than not. Well guess what? Not true! The Verizon 4G LTE Multicast would be broadcast through a special portion of the network carved out specifically for this live “streaming” system. So… now that that that concern is out of the way, let me ask you… how excited are you?!