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SmartStart - Starting Your Car with an iPhone

by Traci Benoit
January 26, 2010

There are literally thousands of apps out there for iPhones. Some are useful, like being able to look up a specific type of restaurant in your area and make reservations. Others are useless, like the one that measures how long you can press a button or the one with solid colored screens that do nothing. But then there are apps available on your iPhone that are breaking down barriers and opening up doors, literally, and can make your daily life easier.

Enter the Viper SmartStart app from Directed Electronics for your iPhone. This app works together with a SmartStart system by Viper, who is a leader in automotive remote start and security systems. This app can work to lock and unlock your car doors, pre-warm the inside of the car in the winter and pre-cool it in the summer, open the trunk, help you find the vehicle in a parking lot and even arm and disarm the security system. All of these things are possible without even using the key or key fob.

Traditional key fobs used with keyless entry, security systems and remote starts must be within a certain distance from the vehicle for it to work. With SmartStart, as long as your iPhone has a signal the system will work, no matter where you are or how far away from the vehicle you are. A 3G or Wi-Fi signal is all that is needed for the system to work.

'Viper SmartStart has many other capabilities beyond remote start. Depending on the installation, users can lock and unlock the doors, pop the trunk, find their car in a parking lot or arm their security system. Users can even control multiple cars from one iPhone,' says executive vice president of Directed Electronics Mike Simmons.

Once you start your vehicle with the SmarStart app, it will remain locked until you unlock it with the app or with a key. If anyone gets into your vehicle after you start it, they cannot drive the vehicle without the key. In fact, if someone attempts to drive the vehicle without the key and after the SmartStart remote start is activated, the vehicle will shut down.

The SmartStart system is currently only available for use with the iPhone and iPhone Touch in conjunction with service from AT&T. The Viper system is available at Best Buy, but if you already have a compatible Viper system installed in your car you can purchase the SmartStart module and have it added to your current system for a little more than half the price of a new one. The first year of service is included in the price of the system, whether you buy a complete system or just the additional module. After the first year the cost is only around thirty bucks a year. A service plan is needed because of how the system works using a cellular network. The plan covers reasonable usage and other plans are available. A notice will be sent to your phone if you approach the limit of your plan.

SmartStart can be used on several vehicles with one phone, as long as each vehicle has a Viper SmartStart system installed. Also, several phones can control one vehicle so if you share a vehicle with a spouse, the system can be set up to work from both phones for the same vehicle.

The iphone app for the system is a free download. You can download the free app before purchasing the system to check out the features and learn how it works. Search for 'SmartStart' or 'Viper' at the Apple app store.

The innovative app will receive the Best of Innovations Honors at the 2010 Consumers Electronics Show.


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