Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can Waze.com crowdsource traffic jams away?

Very few things can trigger road rage faster than being told by your GPS device to exit the highway on an off-ramp barricaded by construction pylons or to turn left onto a nonexistent service road. So goes the reality of location-based services, with so-called intelligent maps that ostensibly enable GPS to chart an unimpeded path between you and your destination. It's an industry that sprints from hype to hype, says Dominique Bonte, an analyst at ABI Research. Until now, no one has created dynamic "live" maps and real-time traffic on the back of a sustainable business plan. Is Israeli startup Waze the company that's going to reshape the industry? Created in 2008 by software engineer Ehud Shabtai, Waze uses GPS-enabled smartphones to distribute its free software, which maps out streets as you drive them and predicts traffic in real-time through crowd-sourced intel from commuters. No one else is doing all that at once and for free. Why now? The industry is at a turning point. The iPhone 3G S and Android platforms now support location, and smartphones finally have GPS chips good enough to compete with personal navigation devices that offer turn-by-turn directions. To Learn More click Here waze.com

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