New Technologies, Apps that Help Drivers Focus On Driving

An unfortunate side effect of the digital age is that many smartphone users have trouble unplugging from their ever-present, efficient modes of communication—even while driving. According to www.distraction.gov, the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving, “Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving…” Distracted driving is no laughing matter; it is estimated that in 2012, 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver—a 9% increase from the previous year—and 3,328 were killed. To combat the problem, especially among young people, the site offers a variety of downloadable materials to help educate drivers, from sample employer policies and press releases to public service announcements.

Google and Apple have been working on their own solutions to distracted driving: apps that block smartphone use (or the use of certain functions, such as texting), as well as high-tech technologies that integrate smartphone use with automotive infotainment systems. In April of 2014, Apple filed a patent application for a series of apps the company hopes will boost driver safety. According to an International Business Times article, it is believed that one of the proposed apps would use sensors to detect how fast an iPhone user is traveling and whether the user is in the driver or passenger seat. A related app could apparently detect the number of people in a car – if only one person is in the car, the phone would automatically shut down. Apple also announced the development of iPhone-automotive integration technology in 2014. Known as CarPlay, the technology functions as if the user’s iPhone is built into a vehicle’s dashboard, rendering the phone controllable from the center console (touchscreen or knobs) or through a Siri voice activation button on the steering wheel. For example, Siri will be able to send, read, and reply to text messages by voice without the user ever touching the phone. Currently, the Ferrari FF is the only commercially available vehicle that features Apple CarPlay, although certain Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar models are set to include the technology in 2015.

Google, meanwhile, announced its own smartphone-automobile integration technology in 2014: Android Auto. Android Auto is designed to use the voice-command-based Google Now to operate navigation, communication, and audio functions on Android-based smartphones through voice commands or steering-wheel controls. Google Play Music and other music formats, such as Pandora, will also be accessible through the technology, as will navigation software. A ZDNet article reports that Google “has signed on a number of companies — including Hyundai and General Motors — through the Open Automotive Alliance and current Android Auto product, and an integrated Android OS for vehicles is a logical step-up for the firm.” And what about Microsoft? The same article notes that, “Microsoft has so far only revealed a concept infotainment system dubbed ‘Windows in the Car.’”

Bosch SoftTec, a company that specializes in automotive software, connected services, and smartphone solutions, has introduced its own new technology, dubbed mySPIN. As with Apple and Google’s offerings, drivers who link their devices to mySPIN can operate their apps through the vehicle’s touchscreen, controller, or steering wheel control. Bosch has collaborated with Jaguar Land Rover to introduce the mySPIN technology on select vehicles in 2015. MobileDay works within mySPIN to offer drivers a simple, reliable, and safe way to dial into scheduled calls with one tap from their vehicle’s touchscreen.

There are also a variety of apps available that will disable smartphones, or certain smartphone applications, while a user is behind the wheel. Below are just a few examples of currently available apps that help drivers focus on driving:

  • Safely Go, available as an Android App at no cost through Google Play, allows only calls and texts from 3 “VIP Contacts” (for example, family members or a boss) after the app is activated with one click. The app responds to texts with an auto-reply message that informs others that the user is on the road and driving safely. The app enables calls through Bluetooth or other hands-free devices, and gives the user access to only 3 “driving apps,” (such as maps, navigation, or music).
  • DriveSafe Mode can be downloaded for either Android or iPhone devices. The app completely prevents texting, emailing, and other distractions while driving on Android devices and—on both Android and iPhone devices—creates push alert warnings if the app is shut off while driving, blocks phone use within a few seconds of the vehicle moving, and is configurable to allow a younger user to call parents while driving. New features being developed include allowing navigation and music apps while driving, speed alerts, and mileage tracking. Users must register for an account and select a payment plan before downloading the app.
  • Sprint offers its own free Drive First App for Sprint customers. The app automatically sends calls to voicemail and silences email and text alerts when a vehicle’s speed reaches 10 mph. Exit and 911 emergency buttons on the home screen of a locked device allow users to override the app.
  • Live2Txt, available for Android devices for $1.99 silences audio call and text notifications with one button click and sends a customized response alerting the person that the user is driving. Users can download the app from Google Play.

Whether you’re a CEO seeking to promote safe driving among employees or an individual who wants to detach from the temptation of using your smartphone when you should be focused on the road, technology solutions are available to help (and more are on the way).

Drive safely!

Google I/O Boulder

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Google held it’s annual developers conference, Google I/O, this week in San Francisco. There was a lot of great information and features announced and uncovered over the course of the two days of sessions. I was not lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the conference so no I am not typing this while wearing Google Cardboard to alter my reality. I did however get to attend the Google I/O Extended at the local Boulder, CO offices. Many thanks to those individuals for the invite and putting on a great event.

The overall takeaway that I had from the event is that the future as Google sees it is your information displayed on the most convenient device for the moment. Whether that is the way we all use our phones every day, quick notifications on a wearable device like a watch, a more holistic TV experience or in our cars while we are in transit, having access to our data is supremely important to the Android platform going forward.

I am really excited to start playing with the SDK for Android Wear. If you’re not familiar with the MobileDay application, our primary goal is to get you in your meetings as quickly as possible. Our idea is that we’ll be able to alert you to an upcoming meeting. You’ll easily launch your call or online meeting without taking your phone out of your pocket. This is the next step in making conference calls easier, and I know that our customers are going to love it.

As far as the impact on development goes, it’s going to be minimal. We already use notifications to keep you abreast of upcoming appointments, now it’s just a matter of making sure those standard notifications will still look good on your watch. There will be the potential challenges of having to design for both a square and a circle form factor, but in the end it should be very easy for us to present our users their events in time for them to join their calls. From there we can grow our integration into giving the users the ability to scroll forward to future events as well as to take advantage of our Quick Call functionality – host immediate conferences between multiple people, organized by text and in only a few quick clicks. Plus, for those of us who will be late to our own funerals, the ability to tap one button on our watch to let everyone know we’ll be a few minutes late to our daily standup will be a great timesaver.

Believe me when I tell you that MobileDay is not going to stop at Android Wear. Android Auto and possibly even Android TV will hold new features and functionality for us to grow our app in the future. But in the short term I can’t wait to get a watch to play with.

Download MobileDay from the Google Play Store.

 

Boulder Startup Week 2014

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This week marks the fifth annual Startup Week here in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The event is a five-day celebration of the city’s thriving startup community, featuring networking events, coffee shop pow-wows, and a variety of parties, presentations and activities. There is a palpable buzz in the air, people get excited for this event!

From the Boulder Startup Week website:
“Boulder Startup Week is a fun event celebrating entrepreneurship. Our all volunteer team and countless community members have worked hard to create an event that helps build the fabric of what makes Boulder what it is: the people. All the events are listed below, please RSVP and be an amazing participant!  

Something that makes the week special is the surprise acts of kindness that happen. See someone that is new to the room or community? Invite them to meet your friends. See someone looking for a job? Help them out. Getting out of an event? Take some new friends to dinner.”

Tomorrow, May 12th, Startup Week is featuring the popular Startup Crawl. Participants will get the opportunity to check out the offices of 10+ local startups including MobileDay! The event is free, and starts at 5:00pm. Each location is going to have drinks, snacks, and fun activities. More information and a complete list of participating companies can be found here: Boulder Startup Crawl

MD

Download MobileDay in the App StoreDownload MobileDay in the Google Play Store

 

Don’t Dial and Drive

Be Safe behind the Wheel: Use MobileDay!

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As we approach our one millionth call, we encourage all of our users to be safe and avoid dialing behind the wheel. The National Safety Council estimates at least 1.6 million crashes each year involve drivers using cellphones and texting. Take a look at what some of our users are saying about MobileDay:

Eliminates all the hassle to join conf calls while driving” – John

Wow. This dialing app just keeps improving! Don’t know how many car accidents MobileDay has saved too.” – Google User

Great App. We call the app the “don’t run your car off the bridge app” – Beth

So on behalf of our whole team, please don’t dial and drive, and as always: Have a good MobileDay!

MD Google PlayMD App Store

MobileDay Approaches ‘1 Million Call’ Milestone

MobileDay is rapidly approaching our ‘One Millionth Call’ milestone, just one year after being named a VentureBeat 2012 MobileBeat finalist. While maintaining focus on our One-Touch access into ANY conference call capability for iOS and Android devices, we’ve recently introduced a few capabilities for the iPhone that have accelerated our growth. As a quick recap, these new capabilities include:

  • Launching the MobileDay app in India
  • Enabling auto-updates of meetings into Salesforce right from the app
  • Introducing Least Cost Dialing for companies to ensure employees dial the lowest cost phone number based on their location when joining a conference call

We’re really excited about what we’ve accomplished here at MobileDay, and even more excited about what our end-users are saying since they are the drivers behind our success!

Once you use this app you instantly realize how much simpler and easier calls are supposed to be. Home screen App!” – Sarah

This is made with unicorn blood, ‘cause it’s magic.” -Roger

Wow. This dialing app just keeps improving! Don’t know how many car accidents mobile day has saved too.” – Google User

Awesome app, no more having to dig around and look for conference call numbers. They should charge $$ for this, but it’s awesomely free!” – Brien

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our users, and thank them for all the feedback that has helped shape the MobileDay app.

What’s New: MobileDay Now Available in India and More

MobileDay Now Available in India

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MobileDay now provides in-country support for dialing within India! Tell your colleagues in India to download the MobileDay app from the iTunes App Store or give it a try the next time you are in India. We’re just getting started and would love feedback.

What’s The Scoop On Location Services?

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The MobileDay app checks your location to make sure we use the proper dialing sequence based on where you are. Location Services only runs at the time when you open the app and when you are traveling (triggered by cell tower changes). This form of update, called “Significant Change” by Apple, minimizes the impact on your battery. And by the way, your location information never leaves the phone.

Apps We Love

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Periodically, we like to tell the world about apps we love here at MobileDay. Take a moment to check out these two brilliant apps.

Boulder Startup Week

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This week marks the fourth annual Startup Week here in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The event is a five-day celebration of the city’s thriving startup community, featuring networking events, coffee shop pow-wows, a huge Ignite event, and a variety of parties, presentations and activities.

From the Boulder Startup Week website:
“Founded in 2010, Boulder Startup Week is a five-day celebration of the startup community in Boulder, Colorado. There is no registration required – come as you are. While there is a titular focus on startups, many of the larger tech companies in the area contribute to the vitality of the event, much as they contribute to the vitality of the city. Over the course of five days in May, local startups open their doors to welcome any and all to the community by way of free events, meetups, sessions, parties and hootenannies.

The goal of Boulder Startup Week is to strengthen ties in the Boulder startup community, and foster Boulder’s startup growth by inviting new people and ideas to join.

We want entrepreneurs, investors, developers and the tech-addled to experience what it’s like to be here in the hope that they’ll decide to join us full-time one day. Boulder is full of tech transplants, people who caught the Boulder bug and settled here in the last few years. We never get tired of hearing that story, and we hope you’ll add yours to the pile.”

Primary sponsors of the event include SendGrid, Slice of Lime, and Metzger Associates with additional support from Gnip, Pivotal Labs, and many more. The event kicks off today, and a full schedule of events can be found here: Boulder Startup Week 2013 Schedule 

Tomorrow, May 16th, PivotDesk and supporting sponsor, Edgelink, will be hosting a Startup Crawl. Participants will get the opportunity to check out the offices of 20+ local startups including MobileDay! The event is free, and starts at 1:30pm at Shine restaurant. There will be free beer provided by Dry Dock, Ska Brewing, and Upslope, and there will be a variety food available along the way. More information and a complete list of participating companies can be found here: Boulder Startup Crawl

MD

Download MobileDay in the App StoreDownload MobileDay in the Google Play Store

 

MobileDay Now Available for Android Jelly Bean

We are proud to announce that MobileDay is now available for the Jelly Bean version of the Android Operating System. Current Jelly Bean enabled Android phones that are eligible for MobileDay’s latest version :

  • Samsung Galaxy S 3 (Galaxy S III)
  • Google Nexus 7
  • HTC Desire X

Upgradable devices such as the following are also ready to use the MobileDay app:

  • Nexus S
  • Galaxy Nexus
  • Motorola Xoom
  • HTC One X
  • HTC One S

 

 

 

Here is what you will find in this latest version of MobileDay, with a new look and great new features that will make your colleagues envious. There’s a brand new view of all your calls including awesome features like:

  • See what calls/events are going on right now
  • Easily scroll through events on current and future days to see what’s coming
  • Quickly send meeting reminders or notify others you will be late
  • Enhanced application performance
  • Support for both Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean operating systems
  • Improved One-Touch dialing accuracy

MobileDay Ultimate Ears Noise-Isolating Headset Giveaway ($59.99 Retail Value)

 5 Winners Will Be Selected!

MobileDay is giving away the awesome Ultimate Ears 350vi Noise-Isolating Headset with microphone (each a $59.99 retail value) to five lucky winners.  These headsets can be used with your iPhone or Android smartphones to enjoy One-Touch access into all of your conference calls using MobileDay!

Hurry up and enter because the giveaway ends September 28, 2012. For official Rules and How to Enter see below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MobileDay Giveaway = $50 AMEX Gift Card

We’re excited to be attending the Channel Partners Conference & Expo tomorrow and Thursday , Sept 12-13, in Orlando, FL. In honor of that, we are giving away a $50 AMEX giftcard to one lucky winner at the conference! To be eligible for this randomly selected giveaway, all you have to do is:

1.) Download and try our FREE MobileDay app for iPhone or Android, then

2.) Tweet  the following: “Mobile conference calls no longer suck thx to @MobileDayApp & $50 AMEX giveaway #CPExpo mobileday.com” to win!

Winner Selection: The winner will be randomly selected after the Expo Hall closes at 6pm EST on Thursday September 13.  I, Brad Dupee (@brad_dupee), will simply tweet the winner after that time.  Please claim your prize within 72 hours to make it official.

That’s it!  Easy right?
Good luck!