India is lapping up SUVs like never before and catching on that trend are all car manufacturers, both old and new. A new player in the Indian market, but a legendary name, MG Motors will launch their full-size SUV, the Hector, in the coming months. To be priced to compete against the likes of the Harrier, the Creta and the Compass, the Hector will debut with many firsts, like a hybrid powertrain setup along with conventionally powered petrol and diesel motors.
It will be packed to the gills with features like a panoramic sunroof, automatic transmission, and many others. To match the new-age, connected lifestyle of its owners, the MG Hector will feature a technology called iSMART Next Gen and will be the first internet car in India that will aim to redefine connected mobility. Developed along with its strong consortium of global tech partners that includes Microsoft, Adobe, Unlimit, SAP, Cisco, Gaana, TomTom and Nuance, several industry-first features of Internet-enabled cars that will be available in the MG Hector. The brain of the iSMART NextGen will be housed in a 10.4” Head Unit. The screen is designed with a vertical interface that allows the driver to control the entire car system with just a touch or voice command. The Head Unit is built to withstand extreme climatic conditions of India. It comes pre-loaded with entertainment content.
The MG Hector’s iSMART Next Gen tech comes with an industry first embedded M2M sim that ensures that the car remains connected. The customized solution has been developed by Unlimit in partnership with Cisco and Airtel who have collaborated with their Jasper platform and telecommunication network respectively. The connected mobility solution on the MG Hector is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) ready for 5G.
This seamless connectivity enables the users to receive real-time software, entertainment content and application updates. Customers will be able to download the software updates immediately or schedule them for later, as in smartphones. This makes MG the first few among the global leaders and the first in India to bring the revolutionary Over The Air (OTA) technology to cars. The OTA feature would be standard in all MG cars enabled with iSMART Next Gen for connected mobility, starting with MG Hector SUV.
One of the most interesting features of the MG Hector is Voice Assist. It is a powerful voice application that works on the cloud and head unit. Developed by Nuance for MG India, it has been specifically designed for India for Indian accent learning. As a result of built-in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, the system will learn and get better every day with usage. Activated with ‘Hello MG’, the voice assist allows over 100 commands, including opening and closing of windows and sunroof, ac control, navigation etc. and works even under poor connectivity.
To add to customer experience, iSMART will come with pre-embedded and very relevant web applications. It will house TomTom’s real-time navigation application which will regularly update maps, routes and locations through their IQ Maps feature. Pre-loaded Gaana app with Premium Account and Accuweather will further help the customers to access music and weather forecasts. All apps have been specially customized for MG Hector’s large Head Unit.
The iSMART Next Gen will be supported by the iSMART mobile App. It will scan the car, each time the App is opened, and information includes the location of car, tyre pressure, or if the doors are locked or not. The owner can use the remote app to directly lock or unlock doors, turn on the ignition and switch on the air-conditioner. This is very useful in extreme weather conditions of India. It would also allow owners to schedule a service and keep track of service history. MG car owners will also be able to locate their cars remotely and geofence it, so the car cannot be taken out of a predefined zone, thus enhancing the safety of the passengers. The App uses driver analytics data to help people drive smarter. The iSMART is hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud providing cyber security for all data.
MG has set up a first of its kind customer management service centre called the Pulse Hub. This will enable eCall emergency response in all MG cars. If a car’s airbags are deployed under an emergency condition, automatic messages are sent to the Pulse Hub and the registered phones along with a series of emergency response actions that get activated instantly. MG hector also offers an industry first iCall. With just a touch on the Screen, driver is connected to Pulse Hub for a host of information services.
MG India has integrated technology in the entire customer journey and customer experience. Adobe and Cognizant have partnered MG to develop the first ever Adobe Experience Cloud to make the customer journey a delight for MG customers. Likewise, SAP with iTelligence has built one of its kind Dealer Management System – ‘Magnet’, and connected apps. This system would host all information from company, dealers, service centres and customers at one place. This would make sure the customer can seamlessly be recognised and offered services at pre-sales, sales and post-sales phases.
“The integration of internet with cars opens up a gamut of features that can ensure a seamless and updated ownership experience for MG customers in India. With an embedded SIM card and OTA, the MG Hector promises to do a lot more over time with constantly-expanding capabilities, to create a seamless driving experience, throughout the life of the car,” said Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India. “Furthermore, with the advent of 5G connectivity in India, MG cars will have the potential to add new, breakthrough features to further enrich the car driving experience,” Chaba added.