Open House: RV Industry Gets “Smart”

If there is an overriding theme at this year’s RV Open House in Elkhart, Indiana, this week, it is technology. The smart RV is no longer talk of the future; the smart RV has arrived.

“The industry is definitely moving in the direction of the smart RV,” states Sam Jefson, public relations specialist for Winnebago Industries, which introduced ASA Electronics’ iN-Command system on some of its 2019 offerings. With the iN-Command system, RVers can control RV functions, such as climate control, slide outs, awnings and lights, as well as monitor batteries, holding tanks and auxiliary fuel, from an app on their smart phones.

Jefson says Winnebago has rolled out the technology with its travel trailers, which tend to be used by a very tech-savvy demographic, but adds he fully expects all units to eventually be similarly equipped.

Winegard is making tech headlines as well as more OEMs prewire their units for Winegard ConnecT 2.0. Some companies are also making this technology standard on their rigs.


Designed specifically for the mobile environment, the Winegard ConnecT 2.0 WiFi Extender + 4G LTE is a long-range, high-performance WiFi extender that increases the range of accessible WiFi hotspots, well beyond the range of a typical smart device. The product uses its multiple, built-in smart antennas to scan and connect to WiFi signals, rebroadcasting them in and around the camp site. The 4G LTE model can also connect to nationwide 4G LTE when WiFi is not available, ensuring reliable, uninterrupted, in-motion and stationary coverage. Users can stay connected to family, friends, web content, entertainment, and now their RV.

The 4G LTE ConnecT 2.0 model is now certified with AT&T and Verizon as a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and RV enthusiasts can either add it to their new or existing data plan by simply swapping out the included SIM card or choose Winegard ConnecT’s data plan, which features no-contract, 30-day plans with no data throttling, so users only pay for the time it’s being used.

At last week’s open house, Winnebago introduced the Vita and Porto: A compact Class C diesel built on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis. Both products are equipped with best in class storage, tank sizes and carrying capacity. Other features include a new quiet, durable Supershell composite sleeper deck, a new prewired track and roof panel for Wi-Fi and cellular boost antenna systems and industry leading off the grid capabilities.

Reports Jefson, “We are seeing a great interest in being off the grid. More and more people seek a product they can take pretty much anywhere. But they want to be off the grid and still be able to run their appliances.”

This can be seen, he says, in the popularity of Winnebago’s Travato 59KL and 59GL, which were introduced at Winnebago’s Dealer Event in March. The Pure3 Energy Management System powered by Volta Power Systems ­­is a powerful, durable, and easy-to-use lithium system.


Under 200-lbs. the three-module automotive grade energy pack provides 8,700-watt hours. It is watertight and durable; and the steel housing is safe. The 59KL and 59GL come standard with a powerful inverter – a 3,600-watt pure sine inverter – bringing 30 amps of power wherever you are. Travatos also have a dedicated 58-volt alternator, or under hood generator. A simple analog gauge changes color to let users know how much energy is remaining with just a glance.

“The lithium ion battery is really exciting technology,” Jefson states. “You can imagine the options it opens up if you are not tied to a campground.”

Lichtsinn RV is America’s closest RV dealer to Winnebago and Winnebago Touring Coach, located just one mile north of the Winnebago and Winnebago Touring Coach factory in Forest City, Iowa.

We have been named by Winnebago Industries named Top North American Winnebago Dealer for the last four consecutive years. We proudly sell New RVs manufactured by Winnebago Industries as well as Used RVs. Lichtsinn RV is also one of the few Iowa RV Dealers that offers these top brand-name RVs like Winnebago as RV Rentals. Being the closest dealer to the Winnebago factory affords us the opportunity to provide you with speedy delivery of parts from our warehouse and Winnebago. We offer Winnebago, Itasca, Winnebago Touring Coach and Workhorse parts at competitive discounts and we offer fair shipping quotes, and you can avoid sales tax on out-of-state shipments! We have RVIA-certified technicians to service your motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel. Our Circle of Excellence customer satisfaction index scores rank in the best of class for Winnebago and Itasca dealers! See our interactive map of Lichtsinn RV Motor Home Owners from around the world