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The Tinker's Toolbox - Mark Thirman of Illume on the User Interface

Mon, 11/14/2011 - 10:57am

Alix PaultreHosted by Alix Paultre, the Tinker's Toolbox is the Advantage Design Group's web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, and design issues for the electronic design engineering community.

Mark ThirmanIn this podcast we talk to Mark Thirman of Illume software (www.getizup.com)about smart devices and the user interface. His company operates in the consumer electronics space and has a product designed to help users deal with device interaction overload. Their signature product is iZup, an industry-leading mobile software that holds incoming and outgoing communications while driving. We discuss that and other issues in designing products and services for the consumer marketplace.

Here is a link ot the podcast in case the play button isn't working: Illume Interview

Here is a press release on the company's product, iZup:

Recognizing that companies must move swiftly to curb distracted driving at work, Illume Software, developer of iZup, industry-leading mobile software that holds incoming and outgoing communications while driving, today announced iZup Enterprise. A development platform and significant expansion of iZup, the iZup Enterprise family of products includes powerful administrative and reporting capabilities, enabling organizations of all sizes to adopt a robust technology solution to deter distracted driving among its mobile workforces, enforce corporate policies, mitigate rising risk and liability exposure, and ensure compliance with myriad local, state, and federal regulations. 

“Since our inception we have worked to raise awareness of distracted driving and how technology plays a vital role in addressing this critical issue,” says Dan Ross, CEO, Illume Software. “Over the last year, we have seen the dangerous effects of distracted driving move out of the family room and into the boardroom as more and more employees exhibit distracted driving behavior while on the job. With 33 states passing laws regulating cell phone use behind the wheel, we are pleased to provide a productive technology solution for companies to both implement and enforce their distracted driving policies.”

iZup Enterprise comes on the heels of an initiative by the office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), that puts responsibility for safeguarding drivers in the hands of the business owner. A recent OSHA publication stated, “Texting while driving puts millions of Americans who drive on the job at risk every day. As a business owner or manager, it’s your legal responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to safeguard drivers at work.” It is estimated that distracted driving crashes killed more than 5,400 people and injured nearly 500,000 in 2009.

The National Safety Council reports that many employers experience increases in productivity once a distracted driving policy is put in place. According to an NSC report, “Employers that have already passed cell phone policies have found that employees find ways to maintain productivity and accessibility after they stop using the phone while driving, including better time management and changing old habits for new ones. Rarely does productivity actually decrease.”

California-based petroleum products distributor Jankovich Company reports zero accidents since its iZup deployment. “Because it eliminates all distractions, iZUP is a true fix for preventing accidents caused by phone use while driving,” says John Kenner, Executive Vice President. “It’s applicable to anyone, anywhere, whether a fleet driver or a teen. We have many years of operation without an incident and continuously look for ways to improve our safety systems.”

This first release of iZup Enterprise includes a host of server-based administration functions that allow administrators to easily add new users, assign phone usage priorities, and manage multiple accounts and groups. Reporting capabilities chart usage, events, and exceptions, and monitor white-listed number usage, passenger overrides, and emergency calls.

Marc-Anthony Signorino, General Counsel, Distracted Driving Safety Alliance, a Washington-based coalition of manufacturers, technology companies, safety organizations, and national industry associations whose sole focus is stopping distracted driving, agrees on the vital role technology plays in deterring this public safety danger.

“We believe that technology can be a valuable solution to the problem of distracted driving, and pleased to see products like iZup Enterprise come to market,” Signorino says. “Such viable solutions help us advance our agenda of putting an end to this deadly practice.”

iZup Enterprise is available immediately, and supports more than 120 handsets representing 70% of the installed base of smartphones in use today. To reduce distracted driving among all drivers, iZup automatically saves voice calls to voicemail while vehicles are in motion, and holds data interactions including text messages, until the product determines that the trip is completed. Additional features include the ability to prioritize a list of contacts to keep users in touch with only the most important people plus emergency services while driving.

Rounding out the iZup product family is iZup Lite, a free text blocking solution that includes a customizable auto-reply feature that immediately notifies callers that the recipient is driving and will respond to the text when the trip is complete.

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