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Why Location-based Search Requires a New Paradigm for Drivers, or It Is Possible to Find Destinations Without Crashing

Location: Ballroom IV Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 3 ratings)

All new cars will all be connected in a few years, and people are bringing connectivity to their cars today with their cell phones. Consumers will expect the ability to find local destinations by tapping into the large wealth of online information they get from Web services today and will no longer be satisfied searching a static local database in their car. However, you can’t just glue a search button onto an automotive interface, since a search experience optimized for the Web or even mobile use isn’t effective or safe to use while driving. In addition, if , already on the road the driver is likely heading to a destination (home, work, an offsite meeting, etc.) and will only want results that won’t require him or her to deviate from the current path and eventual destination. Even if text is replaced by voice commands and TTS, verifying your inputs and sorting through the results to find what you want requires too much cognitive processing and focus to be safely done while driving.

Fortunately, this problems can be solved by taking advantage of the fact that there are a limited number of contexts that apply most of the time when people are driving cars. For example, a driver may be hungry, want coffee, need to get cash, need a bathroom, etc. By focusing on these contexts, a series of filters can be set up based on user preferences, past user behavior, the driver’s current location, speed, and heading, and the local road information and underlying map. Using all of this information, the results set can be significantly pared down before it is shared with the driver. That way he doesn’t have to do any filtering of the results while driving, but can simply (for example) indicate he is hungry and then drive to any results that appear with confidence.

Knowing the driver’s location, speed, and heading and analyzing them in context with the underlying map is important to screen out any results that can’t easily be navigated to with minimal deviation from the driver’s current route. This has to be done not knowing the final destination the driver is heading to since most consumers will not take the extra time to enter or select a destination every time they get in their car. This is a very different paradigm from how local search in a car has been previously approached as a subset of the navigation function.

In addition, a driver should be able to state her need once and have the search function performed continuously until a result is obtained or she turns it off. As they drive and eventually come in range of a good result, they can rest assured that it will be presented to them.

This talk will look at the most common driver search contexts, using insight from what consumers searched for with Dash Navigation and Aha Mobile. It will then discuss how to most effectively optimize for those contexts as described above, with specific examples and consumer learnings from Aha’s consumer application. Finally, it will discuss how the APIs provided by online search services can be better optimized to enable better and safer in-car experiences to be created to access their results.

Robert Acker

Harman International

Robert is the President, CEO, and Founder of Aha Mobile, Inc. He brings more than 12 years of experience in developing and launching technology-based consumer products and services. Robert was most recently Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dash Navigation, where he headed marketing, advertising, product management, and PR for the company that developed the first Internet-connected GPS device. Prior to that he served as Vice President of Music Services at RealNetworks where he oversaw the leading on-demand music service Rhapsody and the company’s music download store. Before that, Robert was the first full-time employee at XM Satellite Radio, where he wrote the original XM business plan and served as Vice President of marketing and Vice President of product development and planning. There he negotiated the company’s first strategic partnerships, created the XM brand, set pricing, launched the service and developed the company’s award-winning radio lineup. Robert previously held executive positions at aerospace start-ups and worked as an engineer at Boeing Satellite Systems. Robert holds both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a MBA from the Harvard Business School.