By Bill Brehm
As a former manager for one of the major car rental companies, an announcement from Avis Budget Group really caught my eye this week. Avis Budget Group announced that they would start to offer tablets for rent along with the car for $21.99 per day, at participating locations in the United States. As I read the quick announcement, I felt that this rental company was really starting the first step towards truly connecting their customers, independent of the vehicle that they are driving. They state, by using 4G LTE network coverage, they will be able to offer:
—International Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology for placing and transmitting telephone calls and texts over an IP network.
—Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices with unlimited data.
—Advanced navigation with voice-activated turn-by-turn directions.
—Entertainment options such as a language translator, camera, Internet access, popular applications and more.
It appears that Avis Budget Group is trying to keep up with the Jones-es. The Jones-es are named Hertz in this instance. With the latest version of Neverlost, Hertz has hundreds of thousands of vehicles equipped with Android tablets today and a companion APP for iPhone or android. They just aren’t removable.
I do see some benefits to the tablet option, however, especially for foreign travelers who would need to deal with roaming and data plan costs. Also, the tablet would allow you to have access outside of the car. The details on what and how these will be tracked and maintained were not included, but I can’t help but think about my experience checking in a car at the airport. Trying to keep track of my things while trying to get to the terminal to make it through security and to my flight can be hectic now. I’m not sure how it will work in terms of keeping track of a tablet, car charger, and wall charger, but I am glad to see they are trying to take the next step to connectivity. Only time will tell if it works.