Kiip works with thousands of developers, so it only makes sense for us to interview the masterminds behind the apps we integrate into. In this Q&A we meet Kenneth Wong, Developer Evangelist at Mojio. Check out Kenneth’s responses below about the movement of connected car devices, reinforcing good habits with mobile moment rewards, and the absurdity of hidden vehicle data.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Mojio.
My role at Mojio involves all aspects that relate to the development of mobile and web-based applications on the Mojio platform. Earlier in August, Mojio launched Mojio Drive, an apps and services marketplace to enhance the driving experience. Over the past several months, my team and I have been working to support 3rd party developers to ensure their apps were up and running properly, while also managing Mojio’s Developer Center and maintaining documentation and code. We also often attend and host developer events to evangelize the Mojio platform and share unique business opportunities in the connected car space.
Who uses Mojio/connected car devices?
Every car on the road today harbors a wealth of data that has typically been hidden behind the dashboard. Mojio reads this data, sends it to our cloud and makes it available to a growing suite of applications in ways that consumers are already familiar with – via mobile phones and computers. Mojio is for anyone and everyone who owns or leases a car, but here are a few examples of people who are using Mojio today:
- The consumer who is focused on the simple things like the location and security of their car(s).
- “Gearheads” who want to know as much about their vehicle’s health and performance as possible.
- IoT and tech enthusiasts who want to connect their car with other smart gadgets and home automation systems.
- Parents who want to ensure that their teens are driving safely.
How big is your development team?
The Mojio development team is currently comprised of about 20 people – and we’re growing!
What tools help you and other developers work?
Our tech runs all the way across the stack, from the hardware and technology in our 3G+GPS device to our back end/API. We also feed our ecosystem with a handful of our own apps — like Trek, Gauge, and Cloak — to showcase the capabilities of our platform. We aim to give our developers a lot of flexibility and allow them to use whichever tools make them the most efficient. Internally, our team has adopted Slack as a tool that helps us all communicate more efficiently. We also rely on several startup classics, like white boards, nerf guns and plenty of snacks!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned when building a connected device?
At Mojio, we understand that our entire connected experience needs to be oriented to the end user, so we place an emphasis on ensuring that our ecosystem is presented in an easy to understand and consumable fashion. While the industry is rapidly evolving, a lot of consumers are still unfamiliar with connected devices and don’t understand why they need a connected car. This isn’t surprising — we’ve been trained to be satisfied with vehicles that have no connectivity for as long as we’ve been driving. We’ve learned that the benefits of the connected car need to be clearly explained to the consumer; IoT tech as a standalone solution isn’t enough on its own.
Any advice for developers navigating this sphere?
It’s important for connected car developers to keep in mind that the current state of owning a car is very frustrating. First of all, it’s expensive. Second, there is a lot of inefficiency built into car ownership, such as paying too much for repairs or insurance simply because that’s the status quo. Some of the best moments related to car ownership are in the earliest days of driving a new ride, and much of that joy is eroded over time. A good place to start is by asking yourself these two questions:
- How can you make driving more fun via the tech we offer? For example, five developers created an application at a hackathon that determined if a user is driving too quickly or slowly versus the posted speed limit based on the data we generate and 3rd party APIs. If a user is driving too quickly, the app will analyze the user’s iTunes songs and play something mellow. If a user is driving too slowly, it will find something faster to encourage speeding up. Applications like that are compelling, link to other experiences within the car, and encourage safe driving practices. There are a lot of ways to make driving more fun and enhance the entire user experience via connectivity. The opportunities are nearly limitless.
- Are there any inefficiencies in the car ownership life cycle that I could fix? There’s an app on Mojio Drive called RepairLync. If your car presents a DTC (diagnostic trouble code), RepairLync will read that through the Mojio device and send it to various repair shops in the area for quotes, parts availability, etc. This addresses the inefficiency of getting your car repaired today, which, in turn, makes owning and maintaining a car easier.
Tell me about your experience with monetization. What works, what doesn’t?
First and foremost, we focus on our users. Monetization is part of the natural evolution of continuously adding value for those users. Today, Mojio Drive has a broad set of apps — some are free, while some (for fleet/enterprise) are paid. If you’re experimenting in the space, we recommend creating a free app to test initial adoption and then you’ll better understand if/how to monetize after that. As this space matures, we expect to see more monetized consumer and business apps.
What do you like about moment-based rewards?
From one perspective, you can say that moment-based rewards reinforce good habits — this is not too different from what we all learned from Pavlov’s dog. The right kind of moment-based rewards can be beneficial for reinforcing good driving behaviour. For example, I am consistently tracking fuel efficiency and fuel usage in my family’s vehicles. I might take the bus more often or drive in a more fuel efficient fashion if I know that there might be a reward waiting for me. From another perspective, moment-based rewards are just plain fun! They add a bit of serendipity to everyday life, which we all stand to benefit from.
What excites you most about the connected car space right now?
Cars are generally the most expensive thing that people own outside of homes. It’s 2015 and I find it absurd that so much info is still locked away in the vehicle. At Mojio, we are democratizing all the information that a car is generating, and we are working with developers who are turning that information into beneficial applications. Making this data universal across all vehicles, regardless of make, model and year, provides a single standard for drivers to interact with their cars. We find this extremely exciting!
What emerging trends do you hope to see become commonplace?
We’d love to see connected cars lead to a measurable, positive impact on people and our planet. This can be achieved by improving safety, enhancing security and increasing efficiency. Knowing more about vehicles can help people understand if they are wasting resources, money, etc. As more information and data becomes available, we hope that people will generally begin to take more of an interest in the actual impact of their day to day lives, and this, of course, includes their time spent on the road.
What’s next for Mojio?
Keep your eyes on Mojio Drive, as we will continue to add more apps and services as they are developed. For our developers, there are some exciting enhancements coming to the platform soon. Stay tuned for more!