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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any features you're missing in the VOC app? Things that come to my mind:
1. Voice integration (at least on Windows devices). I'd like the ability to say something like "Volvo, find the nearest Starbucks" and have it send that address to my car. Nice extra would be ability to use voice to remote start/stop, lock/unlock, flash, etc.
2. Ability to use the native map app on my phone, and directly send the location to my car.
3. Timer features... E.g. automatically start the car every weekday at 8am.
4. Geofencing capabilities. E.g. get notified when the car leaves a geofence during specific times.

Anything you'd like to see? Trying to get an idea of how much enthusiasm there is for a custom VOC app with more advanced features.
 

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I have a 2016 XC90 T8. The VOC app / service is OK - but I think it needs to come a long way before I think it is worth US $20 / month.

1. Voice integration - I would not rate this as very high. On mobile devices don't really see the need for voice support for things you can do in a couple of taps. The idea of having the VOC mobile app do speech recognition for finding a POI and sending that to the vehicle - interesting, but only if the app developers can leverage existing functionality on the device. Otherwise what is today a fairly lightweight app would become pretty complex.

2. Native map integration: Volvo is tightly coupled with HERE (was Nokia). What you're asking for though would have to be implemented as either the native map application calling (passing info) to the Volvo app ... or the Volvo app using an embedded map application (other than what is already provided). Not sure what the benefit would be - over and above what already seems to work within the Volvo app.

3. While this is the first Volvo I've owned that support VOC - I'm going to assume the app is the same no matter what vehicle you have. For my T8 - I can precondition the vehicle and set a schedule to do that. (In fact, I believe up to 8 schedules.) Maybe something similar exists for non-PHEV vehicles?

4. Geofencing: this is a good idea and other manufacturers provide it. In some ways it is not a function of a mobile app - but more of a service. (Car periodically reports its GPS position to the cloud and when it is outside an area - or stops reporting - the cloud service can SMS, call, update the mobile app, etc.)

As for the mobile app itself - yes, I'd like to see it raised up a notch - compare to what other manufacturers offer (thinking GM).
 

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As for the mobile app itself - yes, I'd like to see it raised up a notch - compare to what other manufacturers offer (thinking GM).
For a first-go, though, the VOC app is pretty good. I was surprised, actually.
 

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For a first-go, though, the VOC app is pretty good. I was surprised, actually.
We want full disclosure; do you work at VOLVO, are you engaged or married to anyone associated with Volvo, is your cousin or any other relative associated with Volvo?
 

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We want full disclosure; do you work at VOLVO, are you engaged or married to anyone associated with Volvo, is your cousin or any other relative associated with Volvo?
Ha, not even close.

I'm guessing you didn't see the first iteration of the Subaru Starlink app, did you? Just trash.
 

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Agreed here - App is pretty feature compete based on others I've used. I have used similar apps from BMW (i3) and Chevy (Volt).

The key missing features for me (which is really missing from Sensus as well) :

a) Ability to set a delayed start time for charging (i.e. plug in at 6pm, dont start charging until midnight (when rates are lower)
b) Ability to precondition the car when the charge cable is NOT plugged in

I just saw Ford integrated their app with Amazon Echo/Alexa - that would be cool. "Alexa, precondtion the car", "Alexa, how full is the fuel tank"
 

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Ha, not even close.

I'm guessing you didn't see the first iteration of the Subaru Starlink app, did you? Just trash.
I know, I was just being facetious. ;)
 

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I think Voice Control on the VOC app would be HUGE. Given how poor voice recognition in the car is, it would be a great alternative. I for one can't input addresses or POIs in a tap. Would be awesome to use Google Voice for example to send a command or destination to the car.

I'm curious how good the Microsoft Band 2 will be with the new Volvo App coming this Spring. It promises quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
2. Native map integration: Volvo is tightly coupled with HERE (was Nokia). What you're asking for though would have to be implemented as either the native map application calling (passing info) to the Volvo app ... or the Volvo app using an embedded map application (other than what is already provided). Not sure what the benefit would be - over and above what already seems to work within the Volvo app.
The main idea is that my phone works best with the native map app (e.g. when opening addresses in text messages/etc. they open in the native map app). I'd like the ability to send that address to my car with as few clicks as possible. On Windows devices this can be achieved by using sharing targets - in the native maps app you click on Share, and you then select an app to share it with. In this case I would share it with my VOC app, which would directly send that location to the car and have you stay in the maps app.

3. While this is the first Volvo I've owned that support VOC - I'm going to assume the app is the same no matter what vehicle you have. For my T8 - I can precondition the vehicle and set a schedule to do that. (In fact, I believe up to 8 schedules.) Maybe something similar exists for non-PHEV vehicles?
I have a T6 without climate control (not sure if that matters). I don't believe I can precondition/schedule anything.

4. Geofencing: this is a good idea and other manufacturers provide it. In some ways it is not a function of a mobile app - but more of a service. (Car periodically reports its GPS position to the cloud and when it is outside an area - or stops reporting - the cloud service can SMS, call, update the mobile app, etc.)
That would be one way of doing it, but it's just as easy to just poll the car for its position every n minutes. That way there's no need for the car to notify anything.
 

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I know, I was just being facetious. ;)
To someone outside "the know" this might appear facetious but to those who've read threads you've locked this appears to be nothing more than some snarky behavior.

On topic:
There's a lot of potential with VOC. And yes I believe it's a good first attempt. But as noted Volvo needs to look across the board of those manufacturers offering similar functionality and come to task to what others are offering.

As noted in another thread, there might be some greater potential to offer tiers where some basic functionality is offered free such as lock/unlock and remote start. Geofencing and "app to map" functions as well as voice control and media and climate integrationswould go into upper tier(s).
 

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I think Voice Control on the VOC app would be HUGE. Given how poor voice recognition in the car is, it would be a great alternative. I for one can't input addresses or POIs in a tap. Would be awesome to use Google Voice for example to send a command or destination to the car.

I'm curious how good the Microsoft Band 2 will be with the new Volvo App coming this Spring. It promises quite a bit.
You technically can use your voice to enter addresses via the VOC app. Just click search, and then use your keyboard's voice entry. It works quite well, actually.
 

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I just saw Ford integrated their app with Amazon Echo/Alexa - that would be cool. "Alexa, precondtion the car", "Alexa, how full is the fuel tank"
Hate to say it - but I was thinking the same thing. I've had an Echo for a long time (pre-release) ... if Volvo had some kind of published spec (to communicate with the cloud) maybe a third party could consider building an Alexa interface.
 

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I just saw Ford integrated their app with Amazon Echo/Alexa - that would be cool. "Alexa, precondtion the car", "Alexa, how full is the fuel tank"
I was just reading an article yesterday about how Amazon has emerged as one of the leaders in embedded voice control technology. They had the foresight to set up a $100M "Alexa fund to help companies integrate their technology into their products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I just saw Ford integrated their app with Amazon Echo/Alexa - that would be cool. "Alexa, precondtion the car", "Alexa, how full is the fuel tank"
This would be really easy to enable. All I need is an Amazon Echo. :) Right now I've got a proof of concept running based on Cortana that supports Windows devices and Microsoft Band 2, and it lets me say things like "Car, navigate to <address/POI/whatever Google's Places API can find>" or "Car, start". I'll try to record a short video later this weekend and share it here.

Edit: actually, one could almost make this work using IFTTT today... The *only* thing missing here is support for custom HTTP headers in the Maker channel's webrequest action. :(
 

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The main idea is that my phone works best with the native map app (e.g. when opening addresses in text messages/etc. they open in the native map app). I'd like the ability to send that address to my car with as few clicks as possible. On Windows devices this can be achieved by using sharing targets - in the native maps app you click on Share, and you then select an app to share it with. In this case I would share it with my VOC app, which would directly send that location to the car and have you stay in the maps app.
Agreed - but not all devices (or should I say device operating systems, or even versions of the same operating environment) are the same. So the openness and behaviour say on Apple's iOS may be significantly different than on the Android platform - and those maybe much different than what's available in Windows mobile.

For example - on my Samsung Galaxy S6 device (running Lollipop) I'm using Google Maps v9.18.2 - but I have no idea if that's the native / default map app. Apple came out with their own maps app (one of the reasons why I got rid of iOS based devices) - though I understand you can now (again) download Google Maps for iOS?

In the Windows environ - when you do the sharing targets - I'm assuming that the app (in this case, the VOC app) has to be written to accept the target (and be able to run in the background to then pass it along to the cloud and vehicle).

(snip)

re: geofencing
That would be one way of doing it, but it's just as easy to just poll the car for its position every n minutes. That way there's no need for the car to notify anything.
Polling would be costly - with the real only benefit being that it also acts like a hello timer ... and can thereby tell you when the vehicle is no longer reachable. (Worthy of an alert?)

But the most ideal scenario would be one whereby you inform the vehicle's system that a geofence has been established - and when the vehicle moves outside that region the vehicle phones home with that info. (The vehicle could also be setup to periodically phone home - as you note, every so many minutes, instead of being polled - and that would cover the reach-ability issue.)

As it is now - while the VOC app shows how much fuel is in my tank and the battery charge ... my battery can be fully charged and the app does not reflect it (or reflect it in a timely manner - sometimes many hours later it will show fully charged).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
In the Windows environ - when you do the sharing targets - I'm assuming that the app (in this case, the VOC app) has to be written to accept the target (and be able to run in the background to then pass it along to the cloud and vehicle).
Yes, the app needs to support a specific target and know how to parse it. On Windows, the app will get activated temporarily to handle the sharing request, and then suspend again when it's done.

re: geofencing
Polling would be costly - with the real only benefit being that it also acts like a hello timer ... and can thereby tell you when the vehicle is no longer reachable. (Worthy of an alert?)
It would be costlier, but the payloads for getting the position are small, so I don't think the impact on battery life would be detrimental. Push notifications would definitely be ideal, but unfortunately that would require tinkering with the car itself as far as I can tell.
 

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Apple came out with their own maps app (one of the reasons why I got rid of iOS based devices) - though I understand you can now (again) download Google Maps for iOS?
I don't think that there was ever a time when you couldn't get Google Maps after it was released. Apple didn't ban it or anything.
 

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I don't think that there was ever a time when you couldn't get Google Maps after it was released. Apple didn't ban it or anything.
There was a fiasco with apple maps when it released iOS 6. Google and apple were warring and apple removed google maps from the release of iOS 6.

Unfortunately for apple, their version was so bad that they were shamed into publicly apologizing and telling customers to use google maps.
 
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