Ever heard of “remote viewing”? Wiki defines it as the ability to see “an unseen target using paranormal means.” In the rational world one might apply a definition closer to what newcomer TrafficTalk does.
Almost as cool as seeing around corners with a third eye is doing it with the help of scores of people you’ve never met. And TrafficTalk might have ultimate confluence of realtime, crowdsourcing, social engagement utilities mated to make it happen.
So what the heck is TrafficTalk? Well, remember the ’70s? If you can overlook the shag, block out the orange and green kitchens and ignore the awful cars you might recall CB radios. I’ll skip the science and just remind you of how they worked: you’d choose a handle (username), pick up the mic (keyboard) and start chatting (typing), using short-hand verbal codes (spoken emoticons) like “what’s your 10-20?” and “10-4 good buddy.” Truckers and other road-jockeys would create a sort of ad-hoc mesh network that were ephemeral by definition since radio range was relatively short and used for alerting of traffic tie-ups, smokies up the way, flirting and other road hazards.
TrafficTalk brings all that into the 21st century.
The free service launching officially any day now in regions around the U.S. takes some of the usefulness of CB radios and adds a party line allowing drivers to call in via their cell (or any phone) and hear and talk to people in their particular area — those up ahead in the traffic jam and those who are trying alternate routes. Imagine a friendly traffic Pied Piper leading “TrafficTalkers” off the highway and around the jam to throughway Nirvana.
Says TrafficTalk’s Larry Greenfield, “our service is built on a conference service platform, with several added enhancements unique to our application, allowing for scalability; methods to ensure quality as crowd sizes grow large; and monetization.”
The service is similar to waze in that it looks to the wisdom of the traffic crowd to help swift you through the jams, but with live people rather than data on a map. TrafficTalk also includes a simple iPhone app that auto-detects your location and gives you options to choose a particular road. Following that it’s just one click and you’re in.
When we tested the service TrafficTalk already had a sponsorship spot running at the front end, then we were placed into the group (well, were they officially live there might have been other drivers on the line but none was there).