Last night, I attended a TomTom Cocktail Event held on the Empire Hotel’s rooftop. CEO Harold Goddijn met with a variety of media to talk about TomTom’s GO 2535 M LIVE GPS ($349.95) with their new HD Traffic technology which provides real-time traffic information on both main roads and secondary roads. (Last week, I had mentioned to Consumer Reports that my mom wanted a GPS for Mother’s Day. Although my husband wants me to keep the TomTom that attendees were gifted to experience HD traffic, I will be giving it to her after we review it!)
Technology can be “hit or miss” for me. (Honestly, I think that some technological advances are just new distractions/time wasters.) However, there are many tech products that I think are helpful. The TomTom’s HD Traffic technology falls in the latter category. I enjoy being around visionary people, so it was great to hear from both Tim Roper, the president of TomTom, and Harold Goddijn. As the CEO spoke, I was mainly impressed by the fact that including traffic information in GPS technology is just plain helpful. Although I love being a mom, the biggest challenge for me is time. I often have to wait for my husband to get home before I can go where I want/need to be. When he gets caught in traffic, it totally throws my plans off. Also, when we are all traveling together, I am constantly checking my cell phone to see the time. (As I just wrote that, I’m struck by the irony that I can be time-obsessed, yet I rarely wear a watch!) Anyway, I really like to be places on time, so traffic has the potential to stress me out. Traffic really does affect all of us! Obviously, this new HD Traffic technology can’t solve everything. However, it can help drivers more effectively plan their trips by taking less congested roads. Anything that helps people to be more efficient with time is a plus in my book!
Some notes from the presentation that impressed me include the following:
– The GPS gives high accuracy information (including the exact location of traffic jams) with their TMC (traffic messaging channel).
– TomTom has a 2 minute response time for automatic system updates versus the 15 minute industry standard.
– They use a variety of different sources to give drivers the most effective route to their destinations.
– Ultimately, I like that this product helps to save time. (Less time spent in traffic equals more time spent doing the things that you enjoy!)
There was also time for a Q & A session. The highlights:
– Will there be a licensing program for the HD Traffic data? Yes. Mobile phone makers and other will have access.
– Will uncongested roads become congested by the data re-routing drivers? No. The system is dynamic and the information is constantly being updated.
– For urban areas (like NYC) will the system recommend mass transit options? It’s possible over time. However, it presents challenges, because that type of information is not standardized.
– How much is the annual subscription for the HD Traffic navigation data? The first year is free (with the GPS purchase). After that, it is a $59 extension fee.
– Is the HD Traffic information available for existing TomTom devices? Yes, but only for those with a built-in modem.
– Do you anticipate this technology causing more distracted driving/an increase in accidents? No (in principle). Research shows that GPS use reduces stress and causes more focused driving.
– Will this work on a portable basis? Yes. The GPS with the HD Traffic setting will work on a portable basis for up to 4 hours. There will also be a Smartphone app utilizing the HD traffic data.
To end, I took pictures of the various slide presentations. It really is intriguing to see visuals regarding how traffic works on a larger scale and how much time can be saved by avoiding traffic jams. Take a peek:
What do you think about GPS technology? Do you think that this new traffic technology will be helpful?