DroneMobile Makes Car Sharing Easier with Contactless Key Handoff

SEATTLE, WA (01.11.2021) – While travel and vacation were halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, car sharing has remained relevant with commuters seeking alternatives to public transportation. However, car sharing users, both vehicle owners and renters, continue to face hurdles that prevent a smooth and safe rental experience.

First and foremost, there’s the issue of the vehicle’s key. Currently, vehicle owners’ only two methods of key handoff are to meet renters in-person or to stow away the key somewhere on the outside of the vehicle. The former presents social distancing concerns and the latter subjects the vehicle to threats of theft and key tampering. Additionally, “smash-and-grab” break-ins continue to plague vehicles parked in public places for extended periods of time awaiting rental pickup. Vehicle owners that monetize their vehicles are faced with the dilemma of choosing between convenience and safety.

Firstech, the Seattle-based maker of the DroneMobile remote car starter app, has announced that its April 2021 app update will offer vehicle owners and renters both safety and convenience with new car sharing and key management capabilities.

The upcoming DroneMobile app update will enable the use of the company’s patented KL1 KeyLocker hardware. KeyLocker is an LTE-enabled key management and storage system that makes key handoff as easy as sending an invite to a renter’s email. Upon acceptance of the invitation, renters can instantly see the vehicle’s parking spot and start their trip using only their smartphone. Meanwhile, vehicle owners receive alerts notifying them of successful pickup and drop-off. (During the rental, vehicle owners cannot track or control the vehicle without ending the renter’s access.)

KeyLocker fits into most vehicle compartments and has a sliding door mechanism for safely storing any type of vehicle key. While a vehicle’s key is stored in a KeyLocker, the system activates anti-tampering security sensors around KeyLocker and the outside of the vehicle. These sensors can only be disarmed using the DroneMobile app, which works over LTE from unlimited range. If a vehicle utilizes a “smart” key with push-to-start capabilities, KeyLocker can enable and disable the detection of that key so that it does not need to be removed throughout the duration of the rental. In this case, drivers would use their smartphone as the key for driving the vehicle.

Firstech’s KeyLocker also includes a windshield-mounted touchpad as backup in the event of poor cellular coverage or dead smartphone battery.

Firstech describes the DroneMobile app update as “enabling safer and easier car sharing for everyone.” While the DroneMobile app won’t offer a marketplace to reserve car shares, the company hopes to fill a void for vehicle owners that scale their car sharing operations on other platforms.

In order to enjoy DroneMobile car sharing, vehicle owners should visit an Authorized DroneMobile dealer to have their KeyLocker and LTE hardware installed. Parts and pricing may vary by vehicle. To find a dealer near you, visit www.dronemobile.com/find-a-dealer. All car sharing and key management features will be included for all DroneMobile Premium subscribers, with plans as low as $5.99/month.

Firstech Hosted a Compustar Online Training for Altron and Dealers Across Michigan

PONTIAC, MI (10.05.2020) – Thursday evening, October 1st, Firstech staff members Nick Frazier and Jason Ewing presented a Compustar Google Meet training for Altron International and their dealers across Michigan.

Altron’s Susan Newton, along with hands-on owner Bob English, attended the online training. Geoff Dixon and Chuck Ottati, with Michigan rep firm Opus Marketing, also attended the session. Rob Sanden, Compustar Central Regional Sales Manager, also attended the session.

“The Compustar online training was very informative. Both Nick and Jason did a phenomenal job going through the product line and answering questions. They even stayed on the meeting site for over an hour after the meeting was officially done to answer questions. Dealers were very excited as they learned about new products and features. Compustar is always looking for ways to make it easier for dealers and installers.” Newton related.

Continuing Newton offered “The meeting was conducted through Google Meet, not like Zoom where you can see everyone. It worked well though as multiple people could view the powerpoint and talk with each other or use a text box that was equivalent to messaging that everyone could see.”

Jamie White, Opus Marketing Principal, stated “Everything was very good. We spoke with Rob Sanden and he was happy as there were more dealers on the call than expected. We also had a new dealer from the Upper Peninsula on the session.”

The Compustar aisle of the Altron warehouse is packed with product as a result of the company’s early forecasting for the remote start season.

“The day after the webinar our phones were ringing off the hook from dealers taking advantage of the deals we offered during the online Compustar session” Newton concluded.

Even though it was a virtual meeting there were Compustar giveaways. Two complete systems, plus 3 md6200”s, were awarded as prizes. In addition, Altron will send T-Shirts to all dealers who attended the Compustar online training.

Shelves in the Altron warehouse are filled with Compustar remote start units and accessories in anticipation of a strong remote start season across Michigan.

The Altron warehouse is fully stocked and ready for the remote start business that comes with the cold Michigan weather. The company did significant large early forecasting to ensure product that their customers need will be in stock. The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused product and shipping issues. Altron planned ahead to be ready and very pro-active for the remote starter season.

Visit compustar.com for more.

Firstech Compustar Signs On Premier Remote Start Dealer

SEATTLE, WA (08.26.2020) – Firstech has announced that Compustar and DroneMobile products will now be sold and installed at all Custom Sounds & Tint retail locations in Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Custom Sounds & Tint will offer many of Compustar’s premier solutions, including the 3-Mile Range PRO T12 remote starter and alarm system.

Over the past 5 years, Firstech has increased marketing efforts to promote the benefits of Compustar remote starters in hotter climates, utilizing platforms like Facebook and Google to fuel a 90% increase in consumer engagement over that span. Firstech’s retail partnership with Custom Sounds & Tint will allow both companies to meet this increased demand head-on.

Named “The Best Place to Have Installation Work” by Install News Magazine, Custom Sounds & Tint has over 20 retail locations in major cities such as Austin, San Antonio, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City. Each location’s staff will receive direct training from Firstech’s award-winning technical support team led by Wade Beebe and Joshua Woodie.

To find a Custom Sounds & Tint location near you, use Compustar’s Dealer Locator tool at www.compustar.com or visit www.customsounds.com. See www.firstechllc.com for more.

Firstech Expands Virtual Installer Support for 12-Volt Retailers

SEATTLE. WA (08.20.2020) – Firstech, the maker of Compustar and DroneMobile products, is launching expanded support hours and virtual resources for installers.

Effective August 15th, Firstech will offer over-the-phone and online installer support Monday through Saturday, 8 AM to 5 PM PST. Installers will have access to these extended hours throughout the holiday season.

Firstech has also expanded its offering of digital training resources for installers. The company’s award-winning technical support team conducts biweekly virtual trainings using Facebook Live. All of these trainings are hosted on Firstech’s “TechFeed” support group, one of the industry’s largest installer-only communities on Facebook.

In addition to live and on-demand trainings, Firstech announced the beta release of major updates for “MyFirstech Install.” MyFirstech Install provides a one-stop-shop for installers to access technical documents and wiring schematics for remote start and audio applications. The website also features a portal for installers to activate and configure DroneMobile connected car systems. Beta access is currently reserved exclusively to members of Firstech’s TechFeed support group on Facebook.

Firstech’s technical support team is led by a 24-year industry veteran, Wade Beebe. Beebe shares, “Firstech is committed to investing in the current and future generations of installers. We believe that innovation in our industry starts and ends with those individuals that are open to learning and trying new things.”

If you are an installer in the mobile electronics industry and would like to learn more about Firstech’s products and services, visit firstechllc.com or search “Firstech Techfeed” on Facebook.

Firstech Hires Opus Marketing Group for Mid-Atlantic, Michigan

KENT, WA (08.07.2020) – Firstech, makers of Compustar and DroneMobile connected car solutions, is hiring Opus Marketing Group to represent the company’s solutions in Mid-Atlantic and Michigan. Opus Marketing Group will represent all Firstech brands and products, including Compustar, DroneMobile, Arctic Start, and Momento. Daniel Fellers, Firstech’s Eastern regional sales manager, describes the partnership as an “alliance between two of the strongest forces in automotive remote start and security.”

Firstech’s announcement comes in anticipation of the upcoming 2020-21 remote start season, which will follow one of the busiest summers in recent mobile electronics history. Despite the freshness of their partnership, Firstech and Opus Marketing Group promise to immediately hit the road both virtually and physically. Jamie White, the owner of Opus Marketing Group, explains, “With all great things come better things and we look forward to continuing to provide the dealer base the best customer service and cutting-edge technology for many years to come with this recent alignment.”

All Firstech brands and products are available for purchase on www.myfirstech.com. To gain access to pricing and free, same-day shipping, contact Opus Marketing Group at (866)438-6787 (Mid-Atlantic, Michigan) or email Firstech at orders@myfirstech.com (U.S.A., Canada).

Firstech Makes Car Sharing Easier with KeyLocker

SEATTLE, WA (03.30.2020) – Firstech, makers of Compustar and DroneMobile, has announced its plans to release the Drone KL1 in Summer of 2020. The Drone KL1, or “KeyLocker”, is a key management and storage solution that will make car sharing easier for families and businesses.

Over the past ten years, the term “car sharing” has taken on many different forms. Individuals are monetizing their personal vehicles on peer-to-peer car sharing platforms. Families with multiple drivers are exploring different ways to get around in conjunction with owning fewer cars. Lastly, businesses are going mobile, managing vehicles and drivers to bring products and services directly to customers.

While these car sharing applications have quickly evolved, key management has not. Families and businesses are still limited to one or two keys per vehicle and rely on outdated storage solutions like kitchen drawers and key storage lockers. Furthermore, vehicle keys can cost up to $700 to replace in the event of loss or damage.

For all of the car sharing applications mentioned, Drone KeyLocker offers a better way to manage vehicle keys. KeyLocker fits into most vehicle compartments and has a sliding door mechanism for safely storing any type of vehicle key, including bladed and smart keys. While a vehicle’s key is stored in a KeyLocker, the system keeps it protected by activating anti-tampering security sensors around KeyLocker and the vehicle. All of these sensors are capable of triggering real-time alerts that are pushed to authorized users’ smartphones over 4G LTE.

Instead of fumbling with vehicle keys, vehicle access is managed through the DroneMobile App. Vehicle owners can send an unlimited number of invitations to family members or coworkers to share access to the vehicle. Once a user is authorized to drive a car, he or she can unlock the doors with the DroneMobile app and hit the road. If the vehicle uses a smart “push to start” key, users don’t even have to remove the key from Drone KeyLocker to drive the car! In essence, the DroneMobile App and KeyLocker transform your smartphone into your vehicle’s key. Drone KeyLocker also includes a 5-digit passcode touchpad, called the “KP1”, that is mounted to the windshield as backup in the event of poor cellular coverage or a dead smartphone battery.

“Drone KeyLocker combines the best of Firstech’s strengths in vehicle control, security and telematics,” explained Firstech’s Managing Director, Jason Kaminski. “Families and businesses will save time and money with the KeyLocker and DroneMobile App, opening up even more possibilities for car sharing in the future.”

Firstech will be adding the KeyLocker to its DroneMobile brand of telematics and tracking products. Drone KeyLocker can be installed as a standalone key management and tracking solution or the device can be added to an existing Compustar remote start and alarm system. Drone KeyLocker must be installed with one of Firstech’s Drone LTE devices to enable cellular connectivity.

Drone KeyLocker will start shipping in Summer 2020 with an MSRP of $159.99 and is available for pre-order directly from Firstech or from Firstech Authorized Distributors in North America.

To learn more about Drone KeyLocker, visit dronemobile.com/keylocker or email orders@myfirstech.com