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

To err is human; to induce is to be diverted. Sure, caution-red along with hazard-yellow traffic signals are reminders of those roads dangers, but stick characters and s-curved arrows inform drivers only a great deal. They cant deliver upgrades on ever-changing variables like traffic, mechanical difficulties and copies caused by collisions. This data gleaned is an appealing chance for products like Hum from Verizon.

Hum is such a cool and wonderful product to work on since it brings technology to the automobile that hasnt existed before. Its a brand new frontier for automobiles, says Travis Scarcliff, senior product director at Verizon Telematics.

Ironically , this new frontier comprises older vehicles. In a matter of minutes, beginning at $10 a month, Hum+ can equip a 20-year-old vehicle with safety features like roadside assistance, turn-by-turn hands-free navigation and GPS tracking, that are generally pre-installed in todays new cars.


Hum fits a demand that’s for individuals to feel more attached, says Krys Card Grondorf, vice president of corporate communications at Verizon Telematics. The idea, she says, would be to minimize distractions in the car while providing consumers with information they should drive more safely. We need to feel more permitted on the road, and the means to do this is by connecting your vehicle.

However, what exactly do vehicles need to connect to? In Hums case, its Verizons 4G LTE network. Hum is basically 3 elements an onboard diagnostic reader (OBD), also the free Hum program along with also a Bluetooth speaker. The OBD plugs to a port that’s been standard in most vehicles since 1995 and has diagnostics reports straight from the automobile. If theres a problem, the program translates the reports into easy-to-understand messages that consumers may relay into mechanics.

Among Hums greatest selling points is its roadside assistance feature. I am able to check the program to know whats going on with the automobile, Card Grondorf explained, but then I will actually call through to get an accredited mechanic a live mechanic. Like its rival, OnStar, Hums interface is straightforward. The Bluetooth speaker clips on into the drivers sun visor and features three main buttons: The blue one connects into the hotline of mechanics and towing firms; the crimson one connects into 911 and emergency services; the green one acts as a phone.


But pressing buttons will be optional. The Bluetooth speaker may give and get voice commands, also. In the event of a crash that Hum recognizes if the OBD detects the deployment of an airbag or abrupt changes in speed and direction the speaker asks if the driver is OK. If theres no response, Hum informs emergency services. Its done very quickly because of the speed, 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz, and trustworthiness of the network, stated Scarcliff, including the companys newest product, Hum x, may be utilised as a cellular Wi-Fi hotspot a feature that lumps the monthly price as much as $15.

Yes, it can stream music and movies up to 10 devices at a time, but in its heart, Hum xray, like Hum + is a safety goods and assistance. Among Hums competitive benefits is the customizable system of safety alerts, including a speed alarm, which OnStar lacks.

If you’ve got a teenage driver, then you have the capability to decide on a speeding alert, and it alarms you if the car goes over that speed limit, stated Card Grondorf. Parents may also set boundary alarms for specific days and times. All alarms are sent to the driver through the Bluetooth speaker and into the consumer through text or email, depending on notification preferences.


However, Hum isn’t a teenager than it’s a teacher, one that educates you on the best way to induce better and even supplies digital report cards in the form of individual safety scores that are available on the program. Scarcliff likes to refer to Hum as a private helper: It brings a whole new realm of performance into the vehicle.

When it comes to driving, Hum is banking on the concept that getting access to more information signifies having fewer issues. It may sound counterintuitive, but that is a case where being more linked means being distracted.

Katie Jackson is a travel author. When she’s not working, she’s chasing after a Leonberger called Zeus.  

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