To make your daily 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 uniqueness. The brand, from the Chinese group Geely, offers cars that were first designed to allow them to be rented, with no time commitment. The idea is also to offer them for sharing on demand. Link & Co stands out once again, by announcing on July 27, 2022 the integration of an audio conferencing application in his 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. Generally, these applications are mainly intended to fill break times, linked to the charging of an electric vehicle. Link & Co offers for its part to transform your car so that it becomes the continuity of your workspace, and this raises some questions.
Do we really need such a meeting application on board vehicles?
The new meetings application, integrated into the Link & Co 01, allows you to attend 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 Meet.
It must be said that Microsoft Teams is widely used in companies that depend on the Windows / Microsoft environment. Bad luck for all the startups that trust Google solutions instead. At least you’ll have a good excuse not to attend an online conference from your car.
Because the basic question that arises is probably: is it normal to have to participate in an online meeting from your car? While you are stuck in exceptional traffic jams, the application can troubleshoot so as not to miss an important meeting, without having to manipulate your phone to join a call. But regular use seems perfectly inadvisable. This possibility, even for commercial professions brought to drive a lot, seems to go against common sense. Moreover, strangely, the promotional video of Link & Co promotes the excesses of these online meetings.
An additional distraction at the wheel
The phone while driving is already a major source of distraction. Even without having the phone in hand – because let’s remember, handling it while driving is prohibited by the Highway Code (article R412-6-1) –, discussions distract the driver.
Despite what the most adepts of calls from their car say, it is not ideal and that multiplies by 3 the risk of accident. So imagine if you had to focus on the content of a business meeting, which you had to attend, while you were in traffic. This is often unjustified risk-taking, at least until cars become self-driving. Home-to-work journeys must be able to remain a moment of transition between professional and personal life. Moreover, if you have an accident during this journey as an employee, you have 24 hours to report this commuting accident.
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 one, allows the application to be used as an alternative to the telephone via the hands-free system of the vehicle. However, this seems a false good idea on the part of Link & Co, especially for vehicles with which users are not intended to be owners.