June 13, 2010    /    by

New Mobile Opportunities with Key Fobs

Imagine this:  " A motorist still at the office can use a cell phone to remotely start his car or truck, adjust the temperature, confirm ...

Imagine this:  " A motorist still at the office can use a cell phone to remotely start his car or truck, adjust the temperature, confirm the vehicle is locked, detect an intruder, check the fuel level and make sure the tires are properly inflated.

Later, if the gas tank is running low, a couple of taps on the phone's screen locates a gas station and downloads directions, so the navigation system is programmed and ready when the driver reaches the car parked blocks away."

This is the vision articulated by Delphi Holdings LLP and described in this recent Detroit News article entitled: Key fob morphs into high-tech wonder. The idea: turn that device on your key chain that unlocks your car into a conduit between your smart phone and your car.

 While Bluetooth technology is popular today, consumers want even more integration in the future - allowing internet access and exchange of data to mobile apps.

While expensive cars have similar (or even more advanced) features available now, this new technology may be made available for less expensive cars at a much lower price. 

So what does all of this have to do with government technology? Check out this article on some of the latest advances in RFID asset tracking with key fobs . Here's an excerpt: "This active key fob RFID tag which is well suited for personnel tracking and access control application, vehicle identification, or for use in applications where keys need to be tracked, such as in prisons, hospitals and government offices."

It will certainly be interesting to see how this market develops. What is not in doubt is the power of mobile devices when they interface with smart phones and more. The Bill Gates prediction a few years back, in which everything in the home and work is connected to a network which communicates with our car and more, certainly seems to be coming true.

The question that government technology professionals need to ask is not whether we will be integrating our government apps with key fobs and smart phones, but how will we do it. We need to watching these trends and not building new stovepipe solutions that will be unique islands that won't work with commercial off-the-shelf devices.

So how many government apps will we eventually connect to your personal key fob? I'm not sure yet, but I suspect we'll find our sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on smart key fobs?