Imagine if there was an app that let you alert emergency services when you hit a bump on the road. Netun Solutions planned to offer just that – but with lean resources, how could it achieve this goal?
Netun Solutions harnessed the artificial intelligence capabilities of IBM® Watson® to power Help Flash Smart, a safety driving app that is securely and affordably hosted in the IBM Cloud.
Slashesemergency response times with prompt, relevant assistance in case of accident
Hundreds of thousandsof users supported, with flexible and scalable cloud platform
Saves resourcesthat Netun Solutions can allocate to enhancing and promoting its app
Business challenge story
Building a vision on a light-bulb moment
Being involved in an accident – even a minor one – or having to stop on the road because your vehicle has suddenly broken down can be stressful and dangerous. If you have ever found yourself in such a scenario, you know all too well how crucial it is to take action and reach out to emergency services promptly.
To enhance safety on the road, the European Union (EU) has just launched eCall, a device that must be built into all new vehicles, which aims to deliver fast assistance to drivers who have been involved in an accident or experience issues with their car.
While representing an important step ahead in boosting the safety of motorists across Europe, eCall has a few drawbacks – namely, the fact that it is only available for new cars, that it works only on roads in the EU, and that it provides just the basic function of connecting the driver to emergency services via a voice call.
So, what would you do if you were outside Europe, or driving an older vehicle? Cue Help Flash, a brand-new safety device launched by Spanish startup Netun Solutions, which will soon be widely available in non-European countries as well as on old cars.
David Yustas de Pedro, CMO at Netun Solutions, elaborates: “At the beginning, Help Flash was a small, bright device that drivers could switch on and place on the roof of their car to signal a situation of emergency – a much more portable, less intrusive alternative to the traditional warning triangle.
“Soon, we began envisioning the possibility of connecting the device to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. By enabling the driver to communicate with the app itself, the solution could make it easier to alert emergency services.”
As a startup with lean resources, Netun Solutions needed a cost-effective way to develop the new Help Flash app, and bring it to the market rapidly. The company started looking for a reliable technology partner that could help transform its innovative concept into a viable commercial offering.
Illuminating the path to safer driving
After reviewing offerings from different providers, Netun Solutions quickly determined that IBM technology was best suited to its requirements.
David Yustas de Pedro confirms: “IBM put together a proposal that included deploying IBM Watson solutions on IBM Cloud. IBM Business Partner DECIDE Soluciones encouraged us to enroll in the IBM Global Entrepreneur program, which included free access to IBM Cloud for a full year, to help us familiarize ourselves with the platform.”
To form the technology backbone that underpins the Help Flash Smart app, Netun Solutions deployed IBM Watson Assistant, IBM Watson Speech to Text, and IBM Watson Text to Speech, alongside IBM Operational Decision Manager software. Help Flash Smart harnesses these solutions to facilitate natural-language conversations, helping drivers stay safer in the immediate aftermath of an incident on the road. Additionally, Netun Solutions leverages IBM API Connect software to create, run and manage the application programming interfaces of Help Flash Smart.
“Working with IBM, we have been able to infuse Help Flash Smart with AI [artificial intelligence] capabilities powered by Watson,” says David Yustas de Pedro. “This means that users are now able to have conversations in natural language with the app, providing vital information on their whereabouts, the gravity of the accident, and the type of assistance required.”
If drivers find themselves in an emergency, they can stick the Help Flash signaling device to any metal surface in their vehicle. The device will then turn on automatically and connect to their Help Flash Smart mobile app. At this point, the app will ask the driver a series of brief, key questions to determine location, any injuries to passengers and the extent of the damage, and alert the relevant emergency services.”
Looking towards a bright future
By joining forces with IBM and DECIDE Soluciones to deploy IBM Watson solutions on IBM Cloud, Netun Solutions rapidly brought Help Flash Smart to market in several European countries. It will soon be launched in China and the US. Available for both Android and iOS devices, Help Flash Smart can be used on all types of cars and motorcycles.
David Yustas de Pedro states: “With help from IBM technology, Help Flash Smart enables drivers to alert and provide relevant information to emergency services much faster. As a result, it reduces response times and increases the quality of assistance. As word spreads about the usefulness of Help Flash Smart, we expect popularity to soar, which will ultimately boost our sales and profits.”
By choosing to host Help Flash Smart on IBM Cloud, Netun Solutions avoids large capital expenditures on hardware and software, enabling it to redirect these resources towards development and marketing.
David Yustas de Pedro remarks: “Choosing an IBM Cloud solution saves us time and money, since we don’t have to build and maintain an on-premise environment. It also gives Help Flash Smart an extra flexibility and scalability boost—capabilities that will be crucial as we scale up to support huge numbers of users in the years to come.”
He concludes: “With IBM technology powering our Help Flash Smart solution, we feel like we are in the best position to keep developing and marketing our flagship product to drivers around the world. Ultimately, our aim is to enhance road safety and promote responsible driving, and IBM is a true enabler of that vision.”