NFC Clip Digitizes a Vehicle’s Glove Box

By Claire Swedberg

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The device attaches to visor to link users to content related to the car’s dealership, service provider.

Technology company RealTime Feedback has released an NFC-based system that aims to provide digital access to the kind of information drivers have traditionally stashed in their glove box.

The solution, known as NFC Clip consists of an NFC tag built into a small device that grips onto the car owner’s sun-visor. By tapping their phone near the NFC Clip, users can then open links to dedicated sites operated by companies such as the dealership where they bought their car, to schedule service, view their vehicle’s manual or access service history.

But the system also provides a tool for storing documents and photos like insurance or roadside service cards, or registration paperwork, that a car owner uploads. The clip is designed to include a business’ branding.

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Real Time Feedback was founded in 2018 by entrepreneurial brothers, Adam and Kfir Alfia. Adam Alfia said the goal is to address the challenges related to automotive recalls and customer retention in the automotive industry.

Alfia had more than a decade of experience in the automotive servicing sector in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, before the two brothers decided to create the digital platform to help other automotive companies improve their customer experience.

Real Time Feedback is owned by Phoneternet, Llc, which manages a personal assistant and concierge service called MyStar. The 24 hour, seven days-a-week, service provides telematics for automotive companies and branded concierge services for dealerships.

Current Use

MyStar users access the system from their car for services such as scheduling an appointment with a dealership, to making a restaurant reservation or planning a vacation.

Auto companies Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Infiniti all support the service. Users push a button in the car and are directed to the call center where an associate addresses the driver by name and offers to help connect them to the service they are seeking. MyStar is being used by hundreds of car dealerships around the country, said Alfia.

However, the company has been recently developing the NFC Clip to make it easier for users to simply connect to a service without interacting with an operator and using their phone to make the connection.

“That led to the NFC clip and the digital glove box concept,” said Alfia.

How to Use it

The NFC Clip goes on the car’s sun visor with a QR code printed on it, as well as an 13.56 MHz NFC chip embedded inside. In the case of NFC use, as soon as the driver puts their iOS or Android phone within a few of inches of the clip, a landing page opens on their screen.

That landing page can be customized based on the preferences of the car dealer that is providing the NFC Clip. For instance, they could input the car’s VIN at the time it is sold to the driver, and that VIN would then link the car’s NFC system to data about that car including its owners manual.

From the landing page, users can access other services as well, such as scheduling an appointment for service at the dealership. They can access information related to any  open recalls for the vehicle, also. But the system can now accommodates information beyond what is offered by the dealership.

“We recently added a way for the driver to upload any relevant documents that they need,” said Alfia.  That could include the insurance card, towing service card, repair orders or receipts, for the car or truck—users could take a picture of the related document or card, and it would then be uploaded into the cloud.

Digitizing the Stuff of the Glove Box

No matter who’s driving the vehicle they can have access to the digital glovebox by inputting a verification code. Multiple phone numbers can also be added to the clip.

It is available now, and the company has about 400 orders from dealerships. The devices will be available in volume this spring.

“We’re in production and we should have them at the end of April ready to go,” said Alfia.

The company is also in conversation with several oil change companies that can provide its customers with the NFC Clip or enable users —who already have the clip— to access to their service history with that company, on it.

Dealer Benefits

If a user sells their car, the data specific to that car can be stored with the NFC Clip while the user could take their personal digital documents and details with them to another vehicle. If they share their car with another driver, such as a family member, they can provide a code so that the NFC Clip recognizes that individual’s phone and provides them with data access as well.

For automotive dealers, the NFC Clip is aimed at extending the relationship between the car owner and the company that provided it to them (typically free of charge).

“Keeping that customer coming back to that dealership is very important to them,” Alfia pointed out.

The dealership cost is $4.00 a clip, with a one-dollar a year maintenance fee.

Key Takeaways:

  • NFC Clip from Real Time Feedback is designed to enable drivers to access and share data with the dealership that sold them the vehicle.
  • The platform also enables users to upload personal information—like the kind of documents usually found in the glove box—such as insurance and registration or towing service account.