April '19

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O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T 30 • RV PRO • April 2019 rv-pro.com "We expect that next year every car Ford sells will have cellular connectivity," Hamood says. "AT&T has 24 million cars on their in-car Wi-Fi network and adds about 2 million more every quarter, so that tells us cellular connectivity isn't going away." And, while he adds that the RV industry has traditionally been a bit behind cars and homes in adopting technology, more OEMs will look at it to help differentiate them in the market. "More people will come to expect this type of service," Hamood says. At its simplest, these remote systems have always allowed users to perform tasks such as checking their tank levels before heading off-road to a remote campground. However, with cellular capabilities, they can now turn on the lights and HVAC well before returning from a hike or trip into town. And, they can do it with the touch of a phone screen – or by voice. LCI added a voice system to OneControl in 2016. "The cool thing about voice is the adoption rate is actually faster than with cell phones," says Hamood. "It's natural for people to interact by speaking, and almost 13 percent of households have a voice system from Amazon or Google." "The Millennials absolutely expect it," adds Manfreda. "Even people in RVs get it. It's the entryway into digital con- nectivity; once you get them hooked on voice they want everything else." Something for Everyone What will that "everything else" entail? The remote-control manufacturer that can answer that best may not cur- rently even be currently in the market- place, according to Hamood, who adds it could very well be supplied by Google or Amazon. In the meantime, LCI says the number of items the company's research-and-de- velopment team is looking at encom- passes a wide segment of possible prod- ucts and ideas. "We're looking at things like remote door locks, of course," Hamood says. "Power management, software updates, trip reporting, GPS monitoring, remote diagnostics; we're working on all those things at once." Fortunately, Manfreda adds, LCI has an infrastructure that allows the com- pany to work on those multiple things, and with the system existing in the Cloud, new features don't have to have simultaneous rollouts and instead can be added as they're developed. Still another question that's yet to be answered is what will the advent of 5G mean for products such as OneControl? Its ability to offer a high data rate, higher system capacity and increased device connectivity might not change the way an RV owner runs out his awnings and slide-outs, but it does have the potential for LCI to offer still more products. "The tremendous bandwidth may get us into infotainment, where people want to stream videos and movies and that kind of thing," says Hamood. "RV owners aren't camping to get away from technology," agrees Man- freda. "They're getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, but they still like technology to keep them warm Lippert has incorporated both Cloud services and cellular services in the latest versions of its OneControl ConnectAnywhere and OneControl Wireless. "It's a big deal because now we're talking telematics and telemetry, which means you can do long-distance coach control, voice-activation commands and GPS tracking," says Manfreda. "It also enables the Cloud presence through the coach."

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