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Put a mobile device on your dashboard

What if you could snap an iPad into your car’s dashboard to let the device listen to your car’s murmurs? Perhaps it could receive its maintenance-alert emails, the ones that let you know when it’s ready for an oil change or new seat covers. If you also kept your calendar on the iPad — and who wouldn’t? — your iPad could schedule a date with the mechanic.

Howard Dresner, the man who revived the term “business intelligence,” is now excited about mobile devices. This fall, he issued a study. And though I have been ambivalent — and who hasn’t been? — I like the science fiction-like joy of dreaming about the possibilities. We talked on the phone last week, and his enthusiasm was infectious.

Just think, your iPad (or, if you must, your Android device) knows where you car is parked at night, doesn’t it? It does if you turned on your GPS, and who hasn’t? Your maintenance could be run the way airlines do it — overnight, by unseen mechanics, wherever the airliner or car happens to be. So long, courtesy shuttles! Just ignore the sounds coming from your driveway at 4 a.m. It wouldn’t be who it used to be.

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