Verizon Smartphone Hum App Helps Distressed Drivers
When her 87-year-old husband left home without his phone, Vjera Ricov became anxious. Victor Ricov, who suffers from dementia, drove from his Solon, Ohio, home to an outlet mall when he made a wrong turn.
Mrs. Ricov realized that she had recently installed a system from Verizon called "hum." Using the hum mobile app, she located her husband -- who was miles away -- and called the police for help.
The hum by Verizon system is installed through an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle's OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled speakerphone that is clipped to the visor. After installing the devices, the user pays a $10 monthly subscription that also includes access to a smartphone app or web portal through which the subscriber can monitor their car. The speakerphone can also pair via Bluetooth to the subscriber's cellular phone for hands-free calling. Find out more about the smartphone safety app at hum.com; the app can be downloaded from the Apple store or the Google Play store.
Boundary alerts allow subscribers to establish boundaries for their vehicle and receive a notification when the vehicle enters or exits the area. Speed alerts send warnings to multiple family members (via the hum smartphone app, text, or email) when the car travels faster than a maximum speed. The vehicle location shows a map-based tracking of the vehicle's location, speed, and travel direction, allowing subscribers to view the past five requested locations. The driving history shows key trip-based driving information to track driving efficiency, including duration, start and end times, idle times, and maximum/average speeds. Popular uses for vehicle locating might be when someone parks on a street in an unfamiliar area or in large parking lot (such as those at shopping mall), and forgets the exact location.
Through precise GPS-based technology, hum also 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.
hum can help predict potential issues, prevent breakdowns, and offers assistance when problems do arise. By simply pressing a button, drivers can receive diagnostic information, roadside assistance, and even a live consultation with ASE-certified mechanics and emergency personnel on-demand.
Reporting features within the hum web portal and app allow users to observe changes in vehicle performance, such as a decline in gas mileage. The subscriber can contact a mechanic for assistance who might suggest changing the fuel filter or a tune-up. Subscribers can also set up reminders for such services as the next oil change or tire rotation (according to the mileage of the car) to be sent via text, email, or app notification. The speakerphone also gives an alert when it needs to be charged by the 12-volt port in the car or via a USB charger at home or in the office.
"Whether your loved one behind the wheel is an aging parent or teenager or you're a family with young children, hum gives drivers added peace of mind when they're on the road," said Marie McGehee, spokeswoman for hum by Verizon.
Developers of the hum system are constantly listening to customer feedback from customers in Verizon stores and through social media. Recently, the smartphone app was updated to show the location of both the smartphone and the car on the map to make it easier to figure out where the person is in relation to the car, and to find the car. Another recent software update allows subscribers to contact roadside assistance directly from the mobile app.
"We're also finding that the service appeals to millennials who just want everything to work as seamlessly as their smartphones -- at the press of a button. With hum, that same level of functionality is now available in the car."
Verizon customers can add the hum system to their Verizon bill, and it is also now available directly to non-Verizon subscribers in Verizon stores, as well as online at hum.com.
"I'm very grateful (for hum) and I would suggest that everybody who drives have one," Vjera Ricov told Cleveland Channel 19 TV News.
Lynn Walford has been writing and editing for over two decades. Her credits include Yahoo Autos, Investor’s Business Daily, TopSpeed, TechHive, Automotive IT News and Wireless Week. She currently is the editor of AUTO Connected Car News, covering new automotive technology. She is honored to be a Knight Digital Media News Entrepreneur Fellow. Walford learned to drive in her sister’s 1967 Mustang convertible. Her first car was an Alfa Romeo Guilietta Sprint, followed by a 1965 Thunderbird convertible. Her next car was a 1964 Alfa Romeo Guilia Spyder which led to a series of Toyotas and other “more reliable cars. She currently drives an all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf. Walford resides in the Los Angeles area.