Prominent US mobile provider Sprint and blockchain startup NXM Labs announced Wednesday that they have come together to launch a blockchain platform designed to provide customers with in-car 5G Wi-Fi, vehicle maintenance monitoring and scheduling, and crash detection.
The new blockchain will pair the NXM platform, which includes a "powerful automotive router," and Sprint's LTE network to connect the smart devices of drivers and passengers to the internet while on the road. Users will have the option of purchasing cellular broadband by the day, week, or month without affecting their smartphone plans.
The platform is also designed to allow family members to connect to each other's vehicles. Parents can track the speed at which their child is driving and be notified if the child is involved in an accident.
Developers also included a security system powered by the internet of things (IoT) to protect consumers against hackers.
Ivo Rook, Sprint's senior vice president of IoT, expressed his excitement over the partnership:
"Through the power of blockchain technology, NXM provides an advanced level of security and advanced capabilities to vehicles that might not otherwise have it, even extending Wi-Fi ... With the power of Sprint's high-speed LTE and upcoming 5G network behind the technology, consumers will be able to experience the latest in automotive technology, even in early-model vehicles."
Sprint has looked to blockchain technology before to increase its customer base and improve customer service. In February 2017, ETHNews reported that the company had partnered with multinational telecom company SoftBank Corp and blockchain startup TBCASoft in an effort to develop blockchain technology for the telecommunications industry. In March of this year, it was reported that Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon had formed the Mobile Authentication Taskforce to develop a blockchain platform to enhance the authentication processes.
Although the technology is new, the idea of vehicle monitoring through plug-in devices and smartphone apps is pretty old news. As far back as 2011, insurance companies such as Progressive have used apps and plug-in devices to monitor their clients' driving habits in order to incentivize safe driving.
It seems Sprint and NXM Labs have taken this idea, consolidated existing Wi-Fi capabilities, and put it on a blockchain. Only time will tell if this new platform is able to better serve drivers or if it will increase unsafe driving habits in connected people.