When HAAS Alert began, the company started with a very product centered approach to solving the problem of alerting drivers when first responders are approaching.
From a technology perspective, and with backgrounds in the automotive and telematics sectors, we knew the complexities and we knew why this issue hadn't yet been solved, it's difficult to get true real-time data to a car. Traffic data can be 5-10 minutes old by the time a driver sees it, even navigation apps that show "real-time" data can take a few minutes before they are visual displayed on a map. So we needed to figure out how we were going to solve the vehicle-to-vehicle communication problem to deliver data in real-time without onboard sensors - by using the cellular networks, this could be used today, in any city, with any budget.
So from the start, we had to solve the delivery problem of being able to send real-time data to the car. However, after that, the real problem solving began. To send these alerts, the data had to be created as the data set we needed to alert drivers was not readily available, this means that our space now included a hands on approach with first responders as well as the broader public safety offices. Since then, we've now learned more than we ever could about first responders by having spent over a 1,000 hours with them in the field, we are now working on co-chairs of the first responder organizations, are contributors to the first responder OEMs, and even have our own safety goals for the road to 0 deaths through the safety organizations.
Now, only solving the product solution on data delivery, along with working with the first responders completes half the puzzle. To actually deliver the data the automotive OEMs and Tier 1s need to be involved for in-dash integration, the navigation apps so drivers can be alerted in apps they already use, the traffic data suppliers so they can create better routing logic, and the smart city grids so the data can be used for thinks like connected traffic lights and street lights (one city wants to make street lights brighter when first responders are heading down the road).
Even if that is complete, we are in the world of not only connected car, but autonomous, and this is where it gets interesting. We look at the autonomous vehicle as its own industry, we have to, otherwise you are fighting the wrong battles for your technology. There are different rules, legislations, DOT efforts, State and Federal laws, city governing, RFPs/RFIs with their own requirements, and the list goes on. Just saying "our technology works with autonomous vehicles" is great, but only if your technology is part of the legislative process and is embedded into the vehicle (are we still calling it a "Vehicle"?). For autonomous vehicles, this means you are a policy discussion and have more policy work to do than just simply the technology side of integrating true real-time data into the vehicle.
Then, working with cities, there has to be a connection with smart city, it's a given these days, if you have a data product, it's going to be involved with a smart city integration. As mentioned above, with our data set in our Safety Cloud, we've been asked to send data to connected traffic lights, connected street lights, backend integration for smart city services, and the list goes on.
To HAAS Alert, the ecosystem is not just one, but many, and you can't have one without the other, they are dependent on each other:
1. First Responders and Public Safety
2. Automotive/Navigation/Traffic Data Suppliers
3. Smart City Integration
4. Autonomous Vehicles
5. Policy and Regulatory (don't forget about FirstNet)
For startups, this ecosystem can be daunting, but it starts to become our job to make sure these groups are talking, that the first responders know the technology and see the benefits for safety, that the automotive/navigation/traffic suppliers agree with public safety that they will integrate this safety feature from the data set they have offered up through the Safety Cloud, that the cities we are working with agree to use the data on the smart city grid for safer intersections and driver/public behavior, that the city/state we are working with see the benefit with including this functionality into required autonomous vehicle legislation and policies, and finally, to make sure that the governing bodies keep up with technology that can be critical to achieving 0 traffic deaths on our roadways.
At the heart of it is the delivery mechanism, the automotive/nav/traffic suppliers, if they helped to shape the future of the roadways with autonomous, have the momentum and size to shape policy, and if they are at the table for smart city integration as these industries are now intrinsically linked together, then we will be sure to have the support for public safety and our first responders.