Smart & Safe Tech: For cars, there’s safety in connectivity

In order to err is human; to drive shall be distracted. Sure, caution-red and hazard-yellow traffic signs are reminders from the roads dangers, but stick numbers and s-curved arrows tell motorists only so much. They cant provide updates on ever-changing variables such as traffic, mechanical issues and back up copies caused by collisions. This information void is definitely an attractive opportunity for products like Hum simply by Verizon .

Hum is such a great and wonderful product to work upon because it brings technology into the automobile that hasnt existed previously. The a new frontier for automobiles, states Travis Scarcliff, senior product supervisor at Verizon Telematics .

Ironically, this brand new frontier includes older vehicles. Within minutes, starting at $10 each month, Hum+ can equip the 20-year-old car with safety features such as roadside assistance, turn-by-turn hands-free routing and GPS tracking, which are typically pre-installed in todays new vehicles.

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Hum fits the need that exists for people in order to feel more connected, says Krys Card Grondorf, vice president associated with corporate communications at Verizon Telematics. The idea, she says, is to reduce distractions in the car while offering users with information they need to generate more safely. We need to feel a lot more empowered on the road, and the way to accomplish that is by connecting your vehicle.

But so what do vehicles need to connect to? In Hums case, its Verizons 4G LTE network. Hum is essentially three parts an onboard diagnostic reader (OBD), the free Hum app as well as a Bluetooth speaker. The OBD connects into a port that has been standard in many vehicles since 1995 and will get diagnostics reports directly from the vehicle. When theres an issue, the app converts the reports into easy-to-understand text messages that users can relay in order to mechanics.

One of Hums biggest selling factors is its roadside assistance function. I can check the app to understand what is going on with the vehicle, Card Grondorf said, but then I can actually contact through to access a certified mechanic the live mechanic. Like its competitor , OnStar, Hums user interface is simple. The Bluetooth speaker videos on to the drivers sun visor plus features three main buttons: The particular blue one connects to the servicenummer of mechanics and towing businesses; the red one connects in order to 911 and emergency services; the particular green one functions as a cell phone.

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But pressing buttons is usually optional. The Bluetooth speaker can provide and receive voice commands, as well. In the event of a collision which Sound recognizes when the OBD detects the particular deployment of an airbag or unexpected changes in speed and path the speaker asks if the operater is OK. If theres simply no answer, Hum notifies emergency solutions. Its done very quickly because of the quickness, 2 . 5 GHz and five GHz, and reliability of the system, said Scarcliff, adding that the companys newest product, Hum x , can be utilized as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot an attribute that bumps the monthly cost up to $15.

Yes, it can stream songs and movies to up to ten devices at a time, but at the core, Hum x, like Sound + is a safety product plus service. One of Hums competitive benefits is its customizable system of protection alerts, including a speed notify, which OnStar lacks.

If you have a teen car owner, you have the ability to set a boosting alert, and it alerts you once the car goes over that speed restrict, said Card Grondorf. Parents may also set boundary alerts for particular days and times. All notifications are delivered to the driver via the Wireless bluetooth speaker and to the user via textual content or email, depending on notification choices.

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But Sound is less a babysitter compared to it is a teacher, one that educates a person on how to drive better and even offers digital report cards in the form of person safety scores that are accessible to the app. Scarcliff likes to refer to Sound as a personal assistant: It provides a whole new realm of efficiency into the car.

When it comes to driving, Hum will be banking on the theory that accessing more information means having fewer issues. It may sound counterintuitive, but this can be a case where being more linked means being less distracted.

Katie Jackson is a travel article writer. When she’s not working, she’s running after a Leonberger named Zeus.