Brandmotion Insider

  • Will you be going wireless?

    Chances are, you own a smartphone. They’re a common sight nowadays and can be found in most people’s possession at any given time. In 2007 Apple released the first generation of its ever popular iPhone, and since then, it has spurred a competition among the world’s cell phone manufacturers to produce the thinnest, feature-packed smartphones. However, for every feature that’s built-in, battery life suffers. Keeping that battery going is often a struggle between finding a power outlet, having the right kind of charger, or if you’re really having bad luck, both.

    Cable chargers are messy and bulky. It seems as though they have been over-looked when it comes to design and functinonality. They create a tangled mess, are an eyesore in both your home and car, and don’t fit well in your pocket.  So, why not rid yourself of the wire all together?

    FDMC C-200 FreedomCharge by Brandmotion is the first aftermarket wireless phone charger for vehicles. A seamless design gives users a convenient and cable-free way to charge their phones. Pictured is the FDMC-1210 Universal Kit.

    The idea of wireless charging has been around for a long time, originally demonstrated by Nikola Tesla, an inventor, in the 1800’s. Until just a few years ago, the technology was relatively unknown. Now, phone companies and car manufacturers are seeing the convenience and wide array of applications in wireless charging pads.

    No longer do you have to fumble around with your cable to plug the phone in. Simply place the phone on the pad and it will begin to charge. Imagine sitting at a restaurant with your phone on the table, charging. The technology is not just being touted as a novelty for electronic devices.  Battery drain from apps is a constant problem for phone users. Streaming music and using GPS are two heavily taxing tasks that a battery must cope with, not to mention internet and camera usage. By simply placing a phone on the mat, you can keep a steady stream of power flowing into the phone without any interference.

    The wireless charging standard, Qi, has a unique advantage over conductive chargers (the ones requiring metal contacts). Qi uses magnetic induction to pass through a multitude of surfaces in order to carry a charge from the transmitter to the receiver (your phone). This allows designers to keep a uniform surface and seamless design for vehicles and furniture.

    Ditching the cord is becoming more of a reality. You can expect to see a number of new products in your car and home being released as the technology is adopted. You’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to find an outlet and charger in the process!

  • Inductive vs. Conductive Wireless Charging

    Wireless Charging: Inductive vs. Conductive
    There’s no doubt about it; wireless charging is becoming the new standard for charging electronic devices. However, many users are still uncertain as to how wireless charging actually works.

    There are two different methods that are currently being used to wirelessly charge electronic devices: inductive charging and conductive charging.

    What is inductive charging?
    Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to facilitate the exchange of energy between two objects. Inductive charging works by using an induction coil placed within a charging station to create an electromagnetic field. A second induction coil, placed on the portable device being charged, takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it into an electrical current that is used to charge the device.

    Nokia

    What about conductive charging?
    Conductive charging is a method that requires a physical connection to be made between the portable device’s battery and the charging station. Special attachments are made that are fitted to the electronic device, making it compatible with the charging base. The wireless charging base is able to detect when a compatible device has been placed on it, and passes an electrical current from the base to the electronic device through the special attachments.

    What’s the difference?
    The main difference between the inductive and conductive charging is that conductive charging requires a physical, metal-to-metal connection to be made in order to work, while inductive charging can be achieved through a variety of different surfaces.  There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each method, but the Qi (inductive) method provides more opportunities for the development and future applications of wireless technology, using multiple materials and surfaces.

    Car and cell phone manufacturers alike, are turning to Qi, and making it the go to standard for wireless charging. The technology is becoming more common and is being featured in more and more devices, as well as the newer car models.

    Be on the lookout for Qi enabled devices and the cars in the very near future.

  • Brandmotion Ships Vehicle-Specific Wireless Charging Phone Kits

    Initial mix of four models includes universal “trim to fit” version

    FCShip-1

    SOUTHFIELD, MI, July 8, 2014 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – In 2015, The Toyota Camry will join the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, 2014 Toyota Avalon and a handful of other vehicles as the only ones to be equipped with wireless phone charging from the factory. Well before that, Brandmotion will make custom-fit wireless charging a reality for just about every other vehicle on the road today. The Southfield, Mich.-based provider of innovative, vehicle-specific safety, convenience and customization solutions announced it has begun to ship the first four kits in its FreedomCharge line.

    FreedomCharge features a sturdy charging surface that is shaped to fit the available console tray on a specific vehicle. Designed for professional installation, it connects directly to the vehicle’s electrical system so that no wires are seen. For vehicles that the line does not currently cover, one kit features a pad that can be professionally cut to fit any console tray or flat surface up to 10.5 by 7.5 inches, and installs with the same invisible hard-wired connections.

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    “We anticipate the carmakers will be the catalyst for a major marketing push outlining the benefits of wireless charging in the car,” said Jeff Varick, president of Brandmotion. “Our message on top of that is simple – you can get the same benefit they are offering in new cars, in a kit that’s made specifically for your car – today. And for a whole lot less than buying a new car.”

    FreedomCharge is built to the Qi (pronounced “chee”) standard, which is the same standard used by all major automakers, smartphone builders and most accessory manufacturers. This ensures its compatibility with new smartphones and devices as they are introduced. The liquid-resistant pad surface stands up to internal temperatures and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. It will not harm, nor will it be damaged by, devices or objects placed on its surface that are not Qi-enabled.

    Currently available models include Part No. FDMC-1220 for the 2013-2014 Ford Fusion; Part No. FDMC-1240 for the 2011-2014 Toyota Camry; and Part No. FDMC-1260, which fits 2009-2014 Ram trucks with bucket seats. Part No. FDMC-1210 is a customizable kit in which the charging pad can be cut to fit an available flat console tray area.

    Two adapter sleeves are shipping to fit late-model iPhone models that do not feature built-in wireless charging. Part No. FDMC-1105 fits around the iPhone 5 and 5S, and Part No. FDMC-1106 works with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Additional sleeves will be made available for phones not equipped with wireless charging.

    Brandmotion is also shipping a home charging kit, Part No. FDMC-1100, which plugs into a 110-volt outlet and includes the charging mat.

    Brandmotion will continue to expand the FreedomCharge line with new vehicle applications every month. For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • What is Qi?

    What is Qi? You may have heard the term used in conversation before, but in recent years, it has taken on a new meaning. When you’ve heard the term, yoga may come to mind, but what about your phone? The 21st Century Qi (pronounced “chee”) is becoming the new standard for charging your phone…wirelessly.

    cell-phone-chargers copy

    The ubiquity of cell phones has brought with them a mess of tangled cords and a plethora of different chargers. Cellphone and electronics manufacturers have sought to rid your counter tops, nightstands, and now - your car - from the mass of cables you steadily build up with each new device you purchase.

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    A group of Qi adopters, The Wireless Power Consortium, consists of 188 member companies. This group is making major strides towards firmly embedding its wireless charging standard. Four major automakers; Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Toyota have adopted Qi as their standard for wireless charging in their upcoming vehicles, and others are expected to follow.

    You may be asking yourself, “How does it even work?” In order to charge a device, there needs to be an imbedded magnetic coil in the device that can be placed on top of a charging pad with a similar coil. This pairing transmits electricity a short distance from one device to another. Newer Android based phones are already being shipped with the technology built-in. However, Apple devices still need a sleeve to support this feature. The cases might not be such a bad thing since most phone owners have cases on their phones in the first place; stylish and low profile versions are already available in stores.

    The technology is already on the market and more devices are being built with the feature each day, it’s up to the consumer to adopt it.

    If you could cut the cord and free your phone, would you?

  • Brandmotion Expands Direct-Connect Camera Line

    Four new models fit increased number of vehicles equipped with display radios

    SOUTHFIELD, MICH., June 5, 2014 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – Brandmotion, the Southfield, Mich.-based developer and supplier of integrated safety and personalization solutions for the automotive aftermarket, announced it has significantly expanded its line of direct-connect rear vision cameras for vehicle-specific applications. The product additions enable Brandmotion resellers to leverage the higher number of vehicles that come with display radios from the factory but that are not equipped with rear vision.

    As part of the expansion, Brandmotion introduced four new models and upgraded an existing top seller. Each of the kits comes equipped with an Authentic OEM™ camera that fits the recommended factory position at the rear of the vehicle. Vehicle-specific wiring harnesses with factory-match connectors pair the camera with the factory display radio.

    “In our research, we see the trend of carmakers moving toward larger display radios in order to offer consumers more features down the road,” said Jeff Varick, president of Brandmotion. “We can thank the smartphone and the industry’s desire to make their use in the vehicle safer by building their functionality into larger, touch screen car radios. At the same time, we can leverage the larger screen to create a safer driver experience when maneuvering the vehicle in and out of parking spaces and tight spots.”

    New to the line are part No. 9002-8538, which fits select 2013-2014 General Motors vehicles, and part No. 9002-8536, designed for Subaru vehicles in the same year span. Part No. 9002-8532 has been upgraded to work with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango equipped with a 52-pin factory connector and either 8.4-inch or 5-inch display, extending its application from 2008 to 2014 on select Chrysler vehicles.

    Part No. 9002-8535, another line addition, is the company’s first application to work with 2013-2014 Mazda vehicles, and part No. 9002-8534, designed for select 2014-2015 Toyota vehicles equipped with a 24-pin factory connector, is a highly sought-after consumer solution.

    The new kits join the recently released part No. 1009-6503 (2013-2014 Ram equipped with 5-inch or 8.4-inch display), as well as parts No. 9002-8537 (2012-2013 Honda Civic), 9002-8531 (select 2011-2014 Chrysler vehicles) and 9002-8530 (2012-2014 Toyota vehicles). In addition to the time-saving and reliability enhancing aspects of the installation, four of the kits require no additional programming from the dealership to initiate them with the display radio.

    Brandmotion will continue to expand the line as more vehicles become equipped with factory display radios. For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • 3D Printing and What It Means For the Automotive Industry

    In recent years, the 3D printing industry has seen explosive growth. It seems like there are new companies popping up everyday with their own version of the printers. Three-dimensional printers are part of an ever-expanding manufacturing industry, and with each passing year, their print times shorten and the amount of printable materials increases. Automotive companies like Ford have already invested in this technology to make prototypes, and even NASA is adopting this new tech.

    These printers work by depositing a thin layer of a selected material on top of a previous layer, gradually building up the object. The ability to literally print parts from scratch will give companies and hobbyists alike, a number of advantages.

    Check out the clip of a turbocharger housing being printed at the 2014 SEMA Summit.

    Set-up Shop Anywhere
    Traditional manufacturing processes can take weeks or even months to deliver new parts, not to mention, they require huge facilities. If you’re not looking to get into manufacturing, you can still print items from the comfort of your own workshop in a variety of materials, NASA even created a food printer for the International Space Station.

    A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Dream
    With 3D printers, production possibilities are endless. The printers are able to produce any object without having to create a mold. This means, hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers can produce one-of-a-kind trim pieces for their vehicle or home.

    Research, Develop, Print
    Early test methods involved having a small number of parts produced to test. However, when a part didn’t perform quite like the engineers had believed it would, production and testing would come to a standstill. Companies now have the ability to print a part, test it, and make any necessary changes before sending it to production. Ford has been aggressively adopting 3D printers to reduce costs and part development. They have managed to cut development times by 25% and can now send sand molds directly to a foundry instead of making a second casting.

    Hard To Find Parts
    As years pass, the availability of parts for older car models becomes more and more scarce. Utilizing a 3D printer, part manufacturers or even hobbyists could make a replacement for that hard to find piece. You might also expect to see more one-of-a-kind vehicles and modifications on the road in the near future.

    Going Green
    There has been a majorpush for the green movement in recent years. Unfortunately, in manufacturing, waste is always an issue. Three-dimensional printers offer a solution to this age-old problem. Instead of producing large batches of parts, of which some may never be used, printers can make the exact number of parts that are needed. This will reduce unused inventory and wasted material.

    Three-dimensional printers stand to make a large impact not only within the automotive industry but many other aspects of daily life. We will see more and more products being printed in the very near future.

  • Brandmotion Unveils Its Showstoppers at the Hotrod and Restoration Show

    The president of Brandmotion, Jeff Varick, was recently at the Hotrod and Restoration Show in Indianapolis, IN. He brought with him a full line of products that integrate nicely into any car, both old and new.

    If you've been looking for a way to bring your old school hotrod into new school territory, you'll want to take a look at our newest product, FreedomCharge. It was on display at the show, being demoed to attendees. The wireless charging station for your phone installs cleanly into your vehicle for a clutter-less and cordless way to charge your cellphone. Not to mention, it makes a pretty cool "check out what I just got" item for any gear head that loves to show off his or her vehicle.

    Also on display was the uniquely designed Infinity mirror with an integrated HomeLink module. This mirror was designed without a bezel and gives off that retro look with a 21st century twist. With the HomeLink hidden at the bottom of the device, you'll keep that clean looking appearance but still have the convenience of the original module.

    Want to see what was featured at the show? Check out Jeff and the Brandmotion product line in the video below.

    Hotrod and Restoration Show Video

  • Top 10 Most Surprising Vehicles Without a Back Up Camera

    A recent ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has mandated that all cars under 10,000 pounds, starting model year 2019 and later must come with backup camera technology. There’s a good chance that the car you drive has a rearview camera, or at very least, the option to have one installed. This day and age, cameras and LCD screens are a common sight in most cars, but believe it or not, there are some out there that do not offer the safety of a rear vision camera system. Take a look at this list of the top 10 most surprising vehicles without the option for rear vision cameras. If you own one of these vehicles, it may be time to think about getting one.

    1. Jeep Wrangler

    2014 jeep wrangler

    The Jeep Wrangler has seen an explosion in growth and popularity in recent years thanks to upgrades on the exterior and interior. It’s surprising that a car that has such low rear visibility, still does not offer a rear vision camera system option for any trim level.

    2. Jeep Patriot

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    For a car that was listed as IIHS’s Top Safety Pick, you’d think it would have the latest in preventive safety features. The Patriot is a fun car to drive and was appropriately awarded one of Consumer Guide’s “10 coolest cars under $18,000,” yet it lacks some of the most current technology.

    3. Dodge Challenger

    2014 dodge challenger

    The Challenger has been one of the most well received cars in its class. In 2013, AutoPacifica named the Challenger its best-in-class sports car. True to most sports cars, the Challenger features a low profile, which doesn’t help with its rear visibility. These cars can be a challenge to maneuver in parking lots, sounds like something a back up camera could solve.

    4. Toyota Prius-C

    2014 prius c

    The Toyota Prius-C makes headlines as a vehicle featuring forward thinking. It was one of the first cars to incorporate a hybrid drive and solar panels to actively cool the interior. The small stature of the vehicle would make you think it has great visibility, but the sloping back creates a large blind spot for the driver, one that a camera could correct quite easily.

    5.The Entire Scion Lineup

    2014-Scion-Series-10-lineup

    Own a Scion? If you do, chances are you’ve noticed that there is no option for a factory installed backup camera. This is odd, seeing as how the Scion line up is built around customizing almost all parts of the car to fit the driver’s unique identity, as well as their wants and needs.

    6. Mini Lineup

    2014 mini Lineup

    Aside from the Hardtop, no other models in the Mini Cooper lineup feature a backup camera option. These vehicles have great visibility from the front, but the smaller windows in the back can make backing out difficult. With all of the great interior features and styling you can get with your Mini, a backup system would integrate nicely within their entire vehicle lineup and provide a safety edge.

     7. Mazda 5

    2014-Mazda-Mazda5-Wagon-Sport-4dr-Wagon-Photo

    Minivans are notorious for their lack of rear visibility, especially if you have a full load of cargo or passengers. Safety is a main concern, especially with vehicles transporting people. A rear vision camera would compliment such a long vehicle and make backing out much safer, as well as easier.

    8. Hyundai Accent

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    Compact cars are a high value that offer great mileage for a good price. Sadly, the Accent does not offer a rear vision camera system as an option. Due to the small stature of this vehicle, anyone sitting in the backseat could potentially obstruct the driver’s view of what’s behind them, a situation in which a camera system would make sense.

    9. Volkswagen Golf

    2014-volkswagen-golf-gti

    Volkswagen vehicles are touted as efficient vehicles that get you from point A to point B and the rest of the alphabet thanks to their superior gas mileage. However, any successful journey starts with backing out of your driveway safely. Hatchbacks typically have blind spots in the rear where the roof supports are placed. A camera in the rear could save your vehicle, and most importantly, someone else’s safety.

    10. Dodge Avenger

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    This stylish vehicle has multiple optional amenities such as leather bucket seats, color matched rims, large in-dash displays and navigation. However, you won’t find a backup camera listed under any of the package options. A popular vehicle deserves a popular safety feature.

  • Brandmotion Introduces Versatile Camera Kits for Ram Trucks

    Factory or aftermarket, the solution is the same with the Authentic OEM™ 1009-6503 and 1009-6504

    SOUTHFIELD, MICH. – April 14, 2014 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – Brandmotion announced the immediate availability of two multipurpose cameras kit for the Ram. Part No. 1009-6503 covers 2013-2014 models, while 1009-6504 fits models from 2009 to 2012. Whether the vehicle is furnished with a factory installed 8.4-inch display radio, aftermarket multimedia system or add-on monitor, the new kits provide rear vision safety with the seamless look that only comes from an Authentic OEM™ product.

    Both kits features a replacement rear tailgate handle that incorporates a Panasonic camera, angled optimally to deliver a 150-degree view of the area behind the vehicle. The wiring harness is custom fit and includes matching connectors for a true plug-and-play installation. The kits also contain an adapter harness that enables them to connect to the composite (RCA-type) video input of an aftermarket radio, add-on monitor, or one of Brandmotion’s monitor-equipped replacement mirrors.

    “We’re excited to bring out these ‘one-box’ solutions,” said Jeff Varick, Brandmotion president. “Most of our kits are designed for one application or the other: factory or aftermarket integration. Where it makes sense, we plan to provide both applications in a single kit to enable our dealers to service more vehicles while carrying one less SKU.”

    The two new Ram kits join Brandmotion’s extensive line of Authentic OEM solutions for the truck, including Slimline Auto-Dimming mirror with rear vision display, Infinity Auto-Dimming mirror with HomeLink®, and the Curb-Alert PRO front parking sensor. More information on the kits can be found on Brandmotion’s website at http://bit.ly/brandmotion6503 and http://bit.ly/brandmotion6504.

    The Ram Camera Kits are now available with a suggested retail price of $324.95 for the 1009-6503 and $339.95 for the 1009-6504. Authorized dealers can access and download a sell sheet of the camera kit, as well as sales tools and information on many more Brandmotion products, by logging into the Brandmotion Dealer Central website at dealer.brandmotion.com. For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • Land Rover invents the transparent SUV

    "Part of the Discovery Vision concept SUV the company will reveal at next week's New York auto show, the "transparent hood" combines cameras mounted under the vehicle with a heads-up display that runs the width of the windshield. The system allows a driver to see what's directly around the front wheels — something not that useful in everyday driving, but game-changing off-road, where climbing slowly around obstacles often requires a spotter." Read more

    Who knows what the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Jeep Safari will look like in the next decade.

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