OnStar_logoI will assume at this point that many, if not all of you reading this, will have heard about GM’s OnStar service.  If you haven’t, OnStar is a subscription-based service that provides communications, in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, GPS navigation, as well as remote diagnostics systems.  Basically, it’s a service that’s pretty nice to have these days when you’re out and about in your car.

Sure, OnStar is one of those services that is pretty darn cool to have with your car, but unfortunately, it’s not the most widely used service due to cost for a number of people.  But there is some good news for those folks who wanted the privilege of using OnStar but couldn’t, or wasn’t willing to shell out the dough, for the service.  There has been a fairly recent addition of LTE, which will hopefully bring about a larger adoption.

The major car makers are adding connectivity to their vehicles, but for varying rates.  Yesterday at CES in Las Vegas, a range of new OnStar 4G LTE services were announced by GM.  What was included are:

  • Maintenance alerts
  • Driver assessment (for improved driving or better insurance rates)
  • And finally “AtYourService.”

The most relevant service to publishers and marketers, AtYourService, was talked about by GM:

AtYourService will roll out in the U.S. and Canada, where OnStar annually receives more than 35 million requests for directions and supports more than 53 million mobile app interactions. Building on these direct connections and adding more daily relevance for subscribers, OnStar has signed initial relationships with partners like Dunkin’ Donuts and Priceline.com.

Digital coupon providers RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book will supply retail and shopping coupons. Parkopedia will serve data for parking nationwide, and Audiobooks.com will supply e-book content to drivers on the road. When a driver requests directions to a point of interest that has an applicable deal or connection to one of its partners, the OnStar advisor can send the special offer from that merchant.

Also beginning in early 2015, active subscribers with the full-service plan will be able to book a hotel through an OnStar advisor. Partnering with Priceline.com, OnStar advisors can provide information on availability, cost, amenities, and ratings, then book a hotel reservation and send directions to the vehicle.

Subscribers can give advisors the general location where they would like to stay and advisors can select from Priceline’s participating hotels in that area. After booking a hotel, customers receive an email confirmation of their reservation. The service provides a simple way to find on-the-go accommodations while drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. In a pilot program, nine out of 10 subscribers said they would book their last-minute hotel needs through OnStar again.”

OnStar’s hope is that the mobile hotspot feature will be the hook, line and sinker for customers.  Anyone who is interested in this feature will be shelling out a minimum of $20 a month.  With mobile hotspots found in cars, OnStar can now become a wonderful way to perform local search as they’re on the road.

This could make OnStar a bit more easy to swallow, rather than have unsolicited display ads be forced down customer’s throats.  The only issue is the fact there will be an additional fee for the internet connectivity.  But in this day and age, a number of people will be willing to pay it in order to have WIFI in the car.

There are 30 GM models out right now with OnStar.  The new services are coming out in Q1.

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