No Phone Zone

Spoken | August 9, 2016

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Today is Oprah’s official No Phone Zone day, a day devoted to awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, jointly sponsored by Sprint, Liberty Mutual and Chevrolet.

The campaign brings to light some stunning statistics:

  • 71% of people aged 18-49 say they text and talk while driving
  • 500,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted driving every year
  • 6,000 people are killed in accidents involving distracted driving each year
  • 29 states have any kind of laws restricting texting and driving

[Disclaimer: While Spoken’s GotVoice service does transcribe voicemails to text, we don’t recommend reading them while driving.] And lately, Spoken’s engineers have been hard at work, applying speech recognition technology solutions to the texting-while-driving issue. The idea is that if we can improve the accuracy of speech recognition, we can avoid some of the dangers of texting and driving.

You may recall that a few months ago, we sponsored a survey to determine how mobile users search for information when they are in the car. A surprising percentage, 52.3%, reported using a smartphone app to search for information on the road, an activity that has the screen attention equivalency of texting. 

Could there be a safer solution, a primarily voice solution that was no more dangerous than making a phone call with a bluetooth headset?

That was the idea behind GotSearch, the voice search solution: a way for all users to call in with a bluetooth headset, ask a question and receive the answer read to them, live, via text-to-speech, during the call. Screen attention is only required to make the call; after that, everything is voice, so attention can be focused on the road.

In light of all the concerned about distracted driving, what speech recognition solutions would you like to see mobile operators provide? Would you use GotSearch if it came as part of a “safety upgrade” package offered by your mobile carrier? What else would you like to have in the package?

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