Connected thinking

Share. Deliver. Connect. With a range of connected services the new XC40 is a mobile hub that makes life less complicated. We look at three ways that it can help you free up your time.

BY LEO WILKINSON, 2018

Tommy Hansson Strand (left) and Sofia Wessman (right)

Your car and your phone, connected

“The XC40 is a platform for services that can simplify your life and give you time to do what you love,” says Tommy Hansson Strand, director, consumer connectivity services at Volvo Cars.

Connectivity is the key, he explains. It means that your XC40 can become a convenient delivery point for your online shopping, for example, or a mobile wifi hotspot that helps you stay connected on the move. The XC40 can be controlled remotely using your phone, tablet or wearable device, says Tommy, and it can be shared easily with friends and family, without having to hand over a physical key.

At the centre of all this is Volvo On Call – an easy-to-use app that links your car with your mobile devices. “Volvo On Call is about saving time and adding convenience,” says Sofia Wessman, connectivity senior manager at Volvo Cars. “You can do so much with it.”

Volvo On Call is there when you need it. You can use it to pre-heat or pre-cool your car before you get into it in the morning, to remind you if you have a meeting, and to send an address directly to the car’s navigation system to help you get there on time. There’s even a ‘honk and flash’ function that activates the car’s horn and indicator lights remotely to help you find it in a crowded car park.

Volvo On Call also allows you to check your car’s fuel and oil levels from the comfort of your home or office, and see at a glance whether its doors are locked. You can then lock or unlock them remotely if you need to. “Volvo On Call is like a personal assistant that’s always connected and always ready to help,” says Sofia.

People in foreground, with Volvo XC40 in the background

Sharing made easy

“A car is more than a car when you have the ability to share it – and the services that go with it – easily with your friends and family,” says Tommy Hansson Strand. Not having to meet up and hand over a physical key makes all the difference, he argues. “It’s a gamechanger. You simply send access to someone through the Volvo On Call app.”

It means that a friend or colleague could drop something off in the car while you’re at work, for example. Or you could send access to a family member while you’re out for the evening, even if you have the keys in your pocket. “It’s about shared mobility,” says Tommy. “And when you grant someone access to the car they also get some of the great services within Volvo On Call.”

The process is simple. Once you’ve made the car available to someone through the Volvo On Call app for a set period, they can navigate to the car using GPS or the ‘honk and flash’ function, and then unlock the car through the app on their phone. They can then use the car as they want, using the ‘red key’ (a physical spare key) in the cabin to lock and unlock the doors and start or stop the engine. When they have finished they return the red key to the car and lock it using their phone. It’s as simple as that.

People filling luggage compartment of Volvo XC40

Delivery to car

Volvo In-car Delivery uses the connectivity of the XC40 and the Volvo On Call app to allow online shopping to be delivered to the trunk of your car while it’s parked. It means no more sitting around waiting for a parcel to arrive, or travelling to pick it up from a collection point.

“In-car Delivery eliminates the hassle that can be part of online shopping,” says Tommy Hansson Strand. “But it’s also about flexibility. You can be at your summer cottage or at the beach and you can have the parcel delivered to your car there.”

“Most cars are parked for 95 per cent of the time, so why not make more use of that time?”

Once you’ve signed up for the service you do your online shopping as usual and simply select In-car Delivery as the delivery option. A notification is sent to your phone and you choose the delivery time and location. The delivery company then gets a one-off access code that allows their courier to open the car’s load compartment – they can’t start the car, and the digital key is deleted once they have used it. You then receive a notification when your package has been delivered.

There are also environmental benefits, because In-car Delivery helps to reduce missed deliveries that result in extra trips to or from the delivery depot. Tommy explains how Volvo Cars came up with the idea: “We saw that eCommerce has grown by 15 to 20 per cent year-on-year for the past five years and we saw an opportunity for our technology to help make things better for consumers, businesses and the environment,” he says. “Most cars are parked for 95 per cent of the time – so why not find a way to make more use of that time?”