Aha Mobile: traffic & commuter-focused app

Business model kept under the hood



Aha Mobile: traffic & commuter-focused app
After a soft launch two weeks ago, Aha Mobile, a start-up recently funded by venture capital firm Venrock (read here) is officially unveiling this week its commuter-focused iPhone application in the United States. The innovation of Aha is to offer a peer to peer voice channel to inform drivers about their commute. On the top of vocal INRIX traffic information feeds, users can receive and create 15 seconds voice notes (“Shouts”) about traffic conditions on the road in front of them.

In addition to getting traffic information the user can select a range of Points of Interests that can be handy during their drive: restrooms from SitOrSquat, rated restaurants from Yelp and red-light and speed cameras from Photoenforced.com.

Furthermore, Aha offers “entertainment” shout rooms. For example, the “Caraoke” Shout Room lets you send out a 15 second recording of your radio sing along and get rated by other drivers.

One of the motto of Aha Mobile is to be used in a car “driving at 65MPH”. The company put a real focus on designing the application for drivers and is putting a lot of emphasis on that in its marketing. The information is delivered audibly or just need a glance at the screen and buttons have been made very large for the same purpose.

Aha Mobile: traffic & commuter-focused app
Aha Mobile: traffic & commuter-focused app
Competitive landscape
A contender in the traffic crowdsourcing arena is Waze which also recently launched in the United States after enjoying a real success in Israel. The goal is pretty similar: offering traffic information to commuters. However, the user interface is quite different: Waze is much more map centric and relies on the user as a passive GPS probe rather than an active “Shouter” like Aha Mobile. In addition, Waze is completely based on crowdsourcing: starting from scratch with no or little map data and obviously no traffic information. In the case of Aha Mobile the INRIX traffic feed and the data from Photoenforced are already there, making the application attractive even if you are the first user in your area.

Aha Mobile also chose to deploy its solution step by step. The company launched earlier this month in Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area and is expanding this week to Dallas and San Antonio, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Miami Beach, Seattle and Washington D.C.

Another competitor could be the Mobile Millenium project led by the University of Berkeley, Nokia, NAVTEQ and others, but the application is still in trial mode for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Continued...

Wednesday, August 19th 2009


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