DALLAS, TX — EFG Companies and Northwood University announced Team Quantum Integration as the winner of their first annual F&I Innovator of the Year Award.

Along with the award, team members Collin Ulvund, John Vollmuth, and Richie Durso will split the contest's $25,000 grand prize. The app they developed, Watchdog, provides consumers with a convenient way to stay current with their vehicle maintenance, prevent theft and recover their vehicle.

“With changing market demographics, increased compliance and an evolving dealership model, everyone is asking what new developments will be made in the F&I space,” said John Pappanastos, president and CEO, EFG Companies. “At EFG, we understand that in order to lead the industry we need fresh sources of inspiration on how to morph or develop new products to meet new demands. This competition allowed us to jump start this process and we expect to see more unique products unfold in the coming year.”

The app delivers notifications when a scheduled maintenance is approaching. It also allows consumers to check maintenance codes when a dashboard warning light comes on, saving an average of $50 per service charge to check the code as well as thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs by adhering to manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

Additionally, the app provides a direct communication link to the selling dealer to schedule maintenance, making it easier for consumers to maintain their vehicle and giving dealers a tool to increase service drive retention.

Watchdog also monitors the status of a vehicle and alerts the owner when their vehicle is stolen or being towed. It also provides remote start.

In its first year, the F&I innovator of the Year Award competition asks six teams to conceptualize and build a new F&I product. The teams are made up of students from Northwood University's automotive marketing and management undergraduate program.

During the semester-long contest, Team Quantum Integration used Twitter, produced YouTube video diaries and campaigned for their winning submission. The team was mentored by Caleb Hargreaves, finance manager at Hanlees Auto Group in Davis, Calif.

The contest was judged by a panel of eight F&I experts from automotive dealerships and corporations from across the country.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom