Skip to main content

Global Positioning System

See All Stories

Want connected car features without splashing out on a new car? That’ll be $15/mo …

hum

If you feel a tinge of tech envy over the connected car features offered by many recent cars, but not enough to splash out on a new one (or you’re holding out for an Apple Car), Verizon’s $15/month Hum service could plug the gap.

Subscribers simply install hum through an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled device that is clipped to the visor. The monthly subscription also includes a smartphone app allowing subscribers to monitor their vehicle health, contact help, and manage maintenance needs, even when they are not behind the wheel.

If the system detects an accident, it will automatically contact a response center, which will use the Bluetooth speakerphone unit to ask you to confirm that you need help. If you do, or you fail to respond, help will be dispatched to your location, which is obtained from the GPS in the OBD dongle. A panic button also allows you to call 911, and help is additionally available for mechanical breakdowns, with roadside assistance included in the monthly fee.

To make breakdowns less likely, the ODB dongle checks for error codes and reports them to an iPhone or Android app, complete with recommended repairs and even an estimate of the likely cost. Finally, if your car is stolen, the on-board GPS can transmit its location to police.

You will, though, need to sign up for a two-year contract. Full details in the press release below, and you can sign up at hum.com.

Verizon Announces the Availability of hum, Creating a Smart, Connected Driving Experience for more than 150 Million Vehicles

New Service Modernizes Roadside Assistance by Bringing Together Diagnostics and Expert Care, Delivering Ultimate Peace-of-Mind Behind the Wheel

Creating a Smart, Connected Driving Experience for more than 150 Million Vehicles

ATLANTA, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Telematics today announced the commercial availability of hum, an aftermarket vehicle technology and subscription service that enables drivers on the road to make their car smarter through a simple solution regardless of their wireless service provider.

First announced in January at the North American International Auto Show as Verizon Vehicle, hum provides subscribers with a self-installed solution that helps predict potential issues, prevents breakdowns and offers protection when problems do arise. At the simple press of a button, drivers receive diagnostic information, pinpoint roadside assistance and live consultation with ASE-certified mechanics and emergency personnel on-demand.

Hum is an important service, one that we feel passionately will help save lives and keep drivers and their loved ones protected whether they are traveling across town or across the country,” said Andrés Irlando, CEO at Verizon Telematics. “This service equips drivers on the road today with the same level of information about their vehicles that fitness wearables deliver about our health. Simply put, hum democratizes the safety and convenience of vehicle connectivity.”

Powered by Verizon Telematics technology deployed to some of the world’s most prominent automakers, insurance companies and fleet managers for more than a decade – as the telematics service provider’s first direct-to-consumer offering – hum is compatible with more than 150 million passenger vehicles on the road today. 

How hum works
Subscribers simply install hum through an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled device that is clipped to the visor. The monthly subscription also includes a smartphone app allowing subscribers to monitor their vehicle health, contact help, and manage maintenance needs, even when they are not behind the wheel.

Through GPS-based technology, hum helps accurately dispatch advanced roadside assistance, alerts emergency personnel of a car’s location if a crash is detected, and assists authorities in locating a vehicle that has been reported stolen.

“By modernizing traditional ‘roadside assistance,’ hum is designed to deliver ultimate peace-of-mind behind the wheel,” Irlando added. “Now, in addition to being protected with live help and emergency services, drivers will know what their check engine light means and will be empowered with information and knowledge on how to get the problem fixed and what it may cost.”

Specific features include:

  • Pinpoint Roadside Assistance for breakdowns, flat tires, overheating, dead battery or virtually anything else that might require towing or roadside assistance.
  • Incident Alert & Emergency Assistance notifies the hum emergency response center if the system detects an incident. Help will be dispatched to the vehicle’s GPS location if an accident is confirmed or if there is no response from the driver for additional support. Drivers can also initiate a call at the push of a button to speak with a trained, live agent.
  • Auto Health & Diagnostics helps predict and prevent mechanical issues before they become bigger problems by giving subscribers’ insights into their car’s health via the hum web portal and smartphone app.
  • Mechanic’s Hotline connects subscribers with ASE Certified Mechanics providing personalized, immediate and unbiased consultation related to their vehicle’s repair and maintenance issues.
  • Parking & Meter Tools help drivers find where they left their vehicle — using the hum smartphone app — while also keeping tabs on how much time is left on the meter.
  • Maintenance Reminders and Alerts can be set for oil changes, tire rotations and more. Additionally, hum will automatically alert customers to vehicle troubles and general manufacturer recalls.
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance is available at the subscriber’s request – hum can provide information to authorities in order to help locate the stolen vehicle.
  • Travel & Repair Discounts include hotels, vehicle rentals, related travel expenses, and auto maintenance.

Two year subscription plans start at $14.99 per month plus taxes, fees and equipment for the first vehicle (including the hardware, valued at $120) with the option to add other vehicles for less. For more information and to purchase hum, visit hum.com.

Site default logo image

Adobe streamlines transition from Aperture to Lightroom with built-in migration tool

aperture-to-lightroom

Aperture users worried about transitioning to Lightroom following Apple’s decision to cease support for its full-featured photo editing software will now find life a little easier. The latest version of Lightroom includes a built-in migration tool to import both photos and associated metadata from both Aperture and iPhoto.

Star ratings, keywords, color labels, face tags, GPS data, stacks, hidden files and rejects are all transferred into Lightroom to make the transition as painless as possible.

Apple announced back in June that it was ceasing development on Aperture in favor of a more basic Photos app launching next year – leaving pros and enthusiasts out in the cold. Adobe responded initially with a transition guide followed by a plugin migration tool. With Lightroom 5.7 (a free update for existing users), the migration tool is built-in.

Adobe also release DNG Converter 8.7, with support for 24 new cameras.

Fitbit moves from fitness band to true smartwatch territory with $250 Fitbit Surge

fitbit

With Apple Watch official and expected early next year, it’s likely too little, too late for Fitbit, but the company is finally moving beyond simple fitness bands to a fully-featured smartwatch in the form of the $250 Fitbit Surge.

The Surge is the company’s first device to display text messages on-screen, as well as the ability to control music on your iPhone. The move may explain rumored Apple plans to remove Fitbit from its stores (something which hasn’t yet happened), though these may also reflect the lack of Health app integration … 

Expand
Expanding
Close

A day in the life of a cycle-touring holiday with Apple (and Garmin) tech

tech

Having just returned from a 12-day cycle-touring holiday (you missed me, right?), it occurred to me how much the activity has changed over the years. The basics are still the same, of course: turning the pedals makes the scenery pass slowly by, and by the end of the day you’re 40 or 50 miles away from where you had breakfast. But what used to be a very low-tech activity, involving little more than a paper map and compass, has now turned into something of a technofest – at least for me and a fellow geek friend who joined me. And my MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone are all integral parts of the trip …



Expand
Expanding
Close

Site default logo image

Crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app Tapshield goes public

tap

A crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app trialled on selected university campuses has now been rolled out to everyone. Tapshield allows real-time viewing of crime stats and suspicious activity in an area, and allows you to summon help when in trouble.

An award-winning mobile safety app and response dashboard, TapShield uses collaboration and crowd-sourcing to build safer communities & improve response times. Think of TapShield as your social safety network with you wherever you want to go.

The way the app works is that users can report crimes in progress and anything else they spot that concerns them, and those locations and incidents are then automatically shown to other Tapshield users in the area.

When a crime is reported, Tapshield sends a message to campus security when used within one of the participating colleges, and dials 911 when used elsewhere. You also have the option of sending a non-emergency alert to police when you see something that concerns you but which doesn’t justify an immediate emergency response – such as a bunch of street lights out, leaving a path in darkness.

If you have to make a journey that concerns you, you can specify your route and ETA and allow family and friends to follow your journey remotely, raising the alarm if you go off-route or don’t reach your destination when expected.

Finally, the app has a ‘yank’ mode, which automatically sends an alert if headphones are forcibly pulled from the device, such as when your phone is snatched by a thief.

Tapshield is a free download from iTunes.

Via TheNextWeb

Opinion & poll: Will the iWatch be the key to a healthier, fitter you?

fitness

The gadgetization of fitness has been a significant trend over the course of the past year. The wrists of anyone even vaguely into sports or exercise were suddenly adorned with the Nike Fuel Band, and our Facebook feeds full of RunKeeper and Strava reports of just how far our friends had jogged and cycled.

It seems pretty clear by this point that the iWatch will, when it appears, have a major focus on health and fitness. We don’t yet know exactly what it will measure, but I argued in an earlier opinion piece that it’s likely to measure more than any one of the devices currently available.

Will the old adage of ‘What gets measured gets managed’ apply, with all this data leading us to exercise more, eat more healthily and generally up our game fitness-wise? Or will it be a novelty that quickly wears off, with owners reverting to life as usual within a few weeks … ? 

Expand
Expanding
Close

TomTom turn-by-turn gets optimized for iPad

iPad Screenshot 3

If you are the type that likes a 10″ display for driving navigation, TomTom just updated its $59.99 iOS turn-by-turn navigation app to be universal and optimized for the iPad. You’ll of course want to have a 3G version of the iPad/iPad 2 or be tethered through an iPhone that can share GPS.

TomTom also hints that a new version with some interesting features is on the way:

iPHONE 3G USERS: THIS IS THE LAST VERSION OF THE TOMTOM APP FOR iPHONE THAT WILL FULLY SUPPORT YOUR DEVICE. You will be able to download and use the next version of the TomTom App but new features will not be available to you.

More screenshots and full description below (thanks Caleb!):



Expand
Expanding
Close