Whilst the Internet of Things is sometimes over hyped, fundamentally it lets us measure things better. If you measure it, you can manage it.
I was inspired by this article on Australian car accidents in which Robert McDonald, the safety guru who heads of IAG's Road Safety Centre revealed that Friday was a bad day for accidents.
It seems that we get worn down by the week, we're distracted by mobiles and as a result accidents happen.
So I thought I'd dig into some of the new safety data that the GOFAR driver community is gathering. We're now using sensitive changes in accelerometer data to detect good and bad braking and our data confirms the findings of motor insurer IAG, about that Friday feeling.
We're using low cost devices we've designed that can just be plugged into the diagnostic port of your car. It works in pretty much all cars built in the last decade and many as old as 1996 if they were built in the US and in the last few months we've tracked 2,000,000km of data.
As you can see the braking score (from hundreds of different makes and models of car) notably dips on Friday. Then on Saturday and Sunday - with the stresses of the week forgotten - the score improves.
Knowing this could be helpful to insurers, motor repair companies and government infrastructure teams of course, but GOFAR is also providing this information to the driver themselves, so they can more easily manage their own driving. More importantly we flag up aggressive driving as it happens.
Real time feedback is how we learn best - it's why most people don't touch hot irons twice! Our approach to the Internet of Things therefore is not just to measure but to improve. And by giving the driver the right information, at the right time we're changing driving behaviour for the better.
The GOFAR app captures and simplifies all this data for you, the driver, but whilst you're driving you don't want the distraction of numbers or phones, as the accident data shows, so our solution is a beautiful dashtop display that simply glows in response to your driving.
If you drive well it stays blue. Accelerate aggressively or brake harshly and it will start to blush. The harsher the event it detects, the more angry red it goes! GOFAR is live in 37 countries in 6 months so this wordless message of "blue is good, red is bad", is very intuitive and easily understood in all languages.
The multi-award winning design uses only colour and LEDS, and like the Formula 1 shift lights that it's based on it has a very low cognitive load, and works in the driver's peripheral vision, meaning the driver can keep eyes on the road.
What's also important to note here though is that we're not providing this data to some fleet manager who will then send you an angry email. We're providing it safely to the driver, exactly when the event happened and so the learning cycle is so much faster and stronger than if the data lived only in charts and dashboards.
If you're keen to get on board and join the GOFAR driver community, we'd love to have you. We're trying to make driving better and as we've increasingly realised, driving is really a team sport and we all win when we get where we're going safely, and we all lose when accidents happen.