September 30, 2010 1 Comment
As a cyclist with a camera phone, this could be a new measure of protection. Sure, if you’re the genuine jerk, you may decide you don’t need the exposure, but even jerks are going to be hard pressed not to register with Bump.com. Why? Because most jerks are self-promoters. They’ll find this site too hard to resist.
This idea could bring the idea of “pay it forward” to a whole new level of civility. For example, people, in traffic, who ordinarily might not offer a chance to take a place in a line ahead of them… like they are prone to do in a grocery store, may reconsider.
I know there will be all sorts of doomsayers and privacy advocates out there crying foul, but this is a personal decision, just like joining Facebook. I say get used to it. Our mantra at Integra Business Systems is “Linking Technology with Personal Service”. Bump.com has all the promise of being the epitomy of just that type of technology.
A new social networking tool is trying to turn your vehicle’s license plate into an all-in-one identifier that acts as an E-mail address, phone number, shopping rewards card and even an IP address.
Bump.com, the brainchild of entrepreneur Mitchell Thrower, uses license plate recognition technology to allow businesses and government services to connect with drivers and drivers to connect with each other. Thrower says it should be in a public beta by Thanksgiving, just in time for drivers stuck in holiday traffic to send messages to one another.
“The license plate has never given the consumer anything,” said Thrower, who calls the automobile the “last wall that separates us from a communications standpoint.”
That wall may be coming down, as drivers who “claim their plate” at Bump.com will soon be able to sign up for a roadside assistance and rewards program called Bump Advantage (Thrower calls it a “younger, hipper, AAA”) and might even get a targeted rewards coupon on their Bump-enabled smartphone when they pull into the mall parking lot.
“It works like a cookie,” said Thrower, except it uses the license plate as a physical marker for a camera that can read up to five plates per second at up to 150 miles per hour. That technology allows for automated check-ins at hotels and sporting events and easy rental car returns, but it also is helpful for marketers. “It can tie back the owner of the vehicle to their purchase patterns,” Thrower said.
Bump users can also communicate with other drivers by scanning license plate numbers with a smartphone app. Parked too close? Tail light out? Spot a cutie in a Chrysler? Just use Bump to send a text or photo message. For safety, text messaging is disabled when a car is in motion.
Thrower said the technology might actually be able to cut down on road rage, allowing drivers to constructively communicate with each other. Software is used to filter obscenities, and if you’re the passive-aggressive type you can leave a negative rating for a driver that follows them around online. Thrower assures us the rating will never be seen by insurance companies, which is a promise we sure hope ends up in writing somewhere.
Wired Article: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/09/bump-is-a-social-network-for-your-license-plate/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher