Tuesday, 24 July, 2007 11:33 AM
1 in 5 Risk Their Life to Text
technology reads messages to you, puts brakes on danger
Years ago, no one would
have ever thought to do something as dangerous as read or type a
business letter while driving. Nowadays, it’s standard operating
procedure for millions of Americans. So hooked on ‘staying
connected,’ many people can’t ignore their Blackberry’s
while driving, even though they know it’s dangerous-- an alarming
trend. A recent survey by Nationwide Insurance found that 1 in 5
people text while driving. The numbers jump to 1 in 3 among 18-34
year olds. Perhaps even more disturbing, insurers predict this trend
will only increase as more and more people get access to mobile
devices with messaging technologies.
The consequences of reading email while driving can be horrific.
That’s what led USTelematics, Inc. to focus on creating technology
to keep drivers connected to their messages and their steering wheel.
The result: Vivee, short for Voice Interactive Voice Enhanced Email.
Vivee is an amazing new service that reads your email or text to
you. That’s right, Vivee actually talks; a little animated
character or ‘avatar’ appears on the screen of your
device and appears to speak incoming messages to you. Your hands
stay on the wheel and your eyes stay on the road, where they belong.
“Safety should be our primary concern when driving—that’s
what makes Vivee such a remarkable and timely development,”
says Charlene Montalbano, Product Manager of USTelematics, Inc.
“Insurance studies show that distracted drivers cause 80%
of all traffic crashes, so several states already have laws banning
the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Now, lawmakers are
becoming more precise and targeted in the approach to eliminating
driver distractions for drivers by considering laws that specifically
ban text messaging and reading email while driving. Vivee will not
only keep your focus safely on the road, ultimately, ‘she’
may help you avoid a ticket.”
When you have incoming emails or texts, Vivee alerts you so that
you can listen to your messages instead of trying to read them.
Vivee connects to the internet through the Verizon Wireless EVDO
high speed network. When Vivee is fully installed in any compatible
device, including laptops and USTelematics Multimedia Car Pc’s,
it also brings full wireless internet connectivity with it, at speeds
on par with many DSL services. In its first release, Vivee is compatible
with all current windows operating systems and the smart phone.
US Telematics plans to release adapting software for the Apple IPhone
by late summer and a IPhone compatible version of Vivee by the end
of the summer.
Another option for business and recreational travelers alike is
Vivee2go, a portable multimedia device about the size of 2 decks
of playing cards. Vivee2go is particularly attractive to families
on the go because it can be linked to Web-augmented GPS navigation
and play music and movies-- all in one convenient, compact device.
While Vivee has broad appeal to just about anyone who wants to drive
safely yet still receive emails, Montalbano says another practical
benefit is for individuals with vision problems. “We are excited
about the adaptive possibilities Vivee offers,” says Montalbano.
“Vivee speaks and reads messages—this will level the
playing field in business and education for those with vision disabilities.
The ability to receive emails and texts without human assistance
may change the lives of many people.”
Vivee was created after USTelematics’ CEO Howard Leventhal
had a close call with his 6-year-old daughter in the car. “Howard
was driving about 45 mph while texting and he looked up to see a
car 100 feet ahead of him—fully stopped,” says Montalbano.
“He slammed on the brakes and stopped just inches shy of impact.
Later that night after the adrenalin wore off, the idea for Vivee
popped into his head.”
The creation of Vivee is a pivotal technological event because it’s
the type of invention that will dramatically change the way we communicate
when we’re on-the-go. “We’ve all become so conditioned
to being accessible at all times, we look back and wonder how we
ever managed without cell phones,” says Montalbano. “Once
PDA’s hit the scene, they became indispensable. Now that you
won’t be forced to cut the cord on your incoming information
with Vivee-- we’ll wonder what we did before Vivee!”
US Telematics, Inc. develops
and manufactures proprietary broadband telecommunications and electronic
entertainment products for use in moving vehicles. The company’s
initial products include Voyager™ Mobile TV; Vivee™,
a talking, animated email product; and a line of in-car embedded
electronic media center PCs. A privately-held company, USTelematics,
Inc. anticipates public trading of its shares prior to the end of
2007. The company's website is found at www.ustelematics.com.
Source: Event Management