‘Connected car’ on store shelves now

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Every year, Specialty Equipment Market Association puts on its SEMA Show, where the latest in automotive specialty products are put on display. Chris Duke, who is the creator and host of the automotive program Motorz TV, attended the event 14 years in a row. When the show convenes again in November 2014, Duke won’t be the least bit surprised to see a plethora of new automotive aftermarket products that include connectivity.

The “connected car,” he says, can improve functionality and ease of use greatly. “We always have our smartphones with us, so it’s a natural extension of our ‘being’ to control our world around us using that device,” Duke says.

Duke mentions Superwinch’s Roam system among the most notable new products. The system allows an owner of a vehicle that has a winch to add sensors to the winch to extend the distance from which he/she can operate the winch beyond what a winch’s remote control allows. Duke believes that the product increases safety during a winching operation. The product also can warn you of heavy amp draw and abnormal speeds.

Also garnering Duke’s approval is sPod’s remote control power module, which allows full control of in-vehicle toggle switches through a mobile application on smartphones (excluding Samsung models). “Since you can hook anything up to the switches,
the possibilities are endless,” he says. “This is a fantastic product, because you can turn just about anything
that isn’t controlled wirelessly—on/off, that is—into a Wi-Fi-enabled product.”

Duke says most of these types of products are simple to install for the average enthusiast who has experience in installing electrical systems. Specifically, he reminds vehicle owners to “test connections along the way to make sure your power and ground are working properly.”