To make your everyday life easier, car manufacturers are increasing the number of apps available on their infotainment system. Tesla has paved the way and we are now witnessing an escalation of services offered, including an audio conferencing application. Maybe one too many.
Link & Co is a car manufacturer that wants to mark its unique character. The brand, from the Chinese group Geely, offers cars that were first designed to allow them to be rented without a time commitment. The idea is also to offer them for sharing as needed. Link & Co stands out again and announced on July 27, 2022 the integration of an audio conference application in its vehicles.
There was a time, not so long ago, when cars were just equipped with a radio and possibly a GPS. Since then, technology has advanced enormously. Cars now have their own internet connection and offer more and more connected services. Tesla has even launched a new trend by also integrating a whole universe of leisure with Spotify, Youtube, Netflix and even games. In general, these applications are mainly intended to fill break times associated with charging an electric vehicle. Link & Co, for its part, offers to transform your car so that it becomes the continuity of your work area, and this raises some questions.
Do we really need such a meeting application on board vehicles?
The new meeting application, integrated in Link & Co 01, allows you to participate in all your Microsoft Teams meetings. The application adapted to the vehicle system is based on the Microsoft Azure Communication Services solution. If it offers interoperability with Microsoft Teams, this is not the case with other online conferencing solutions, such as Zoom and other Google Meets.
It must be said that Microsoft Teams is widely used in companies that depend on the Windows/Microsoft environment. Bad luck to all the startups that rely on Google’s solutions instead. At least you have a good excuse not to join an online conference from your car.
Because the basic question that arises is: is it normal to have to participate in an online meeting from your car? While stuck in unusual traffic jams, the application can debug to not miss an important meeting without having to manipulate your phone to join a call. But regular use seems completely inadvisable. This option, even for commercial businesses that are going to run a lot, seems to defy common sense. Also, the promotional video from Link & Co strangely promotes the excesses of these online meetings.
An extra distraction at the wheel
The phone while driving is already a major source of distraction. Even without the phone in hand – because remember that handling it while driving is prohibited by the Highway Code (Article R412-6-1) – discussions distract the driver.
Despite what the most skilled callers from their cars say, this is not ideal, and it multiplies the risk of an accident by 3. So imagine if you were to focus on the content of a business meeting that you had to attend while you were in traffic. This is often unwarranted risk-taking, at least until cars become self-driving. Travel home to work must be able to remain a transitional moment between working life and private life. In addition, if you have an accident during this journey as an employee, you have 24 hours to report this accident on the road.
There is not really a legal framework around the development of some of these embedded applications. The fact that it is an audio conferencing solution and not a video conferencing solution allows the application to be used as an alternative to the telephone via the vehicle’s hands-free system. However, this seems like a false good idea on Link & Co’s part, especially for vehicles that users are not meant to own.