News & Views

Eyes on the road, hands off the phone

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most creative, ingenious and effective brand-funded ideas

App disables distracting mobile features for drivers when their phone hits 20km/h

In a bid to create safer mobile habits amongst drivers in Singapore, Samsung has developed ‘Eyes On The Road’ - an app to reduce distractions caused by phones.

Once activated, the Android-only app determines the speed the device is travelling using GSM cell towers and sensor fusion tech. If it believes it is travelling at speeds greater than 20km/hr, it assumes that the phone is in a car and activates a ‘drive safe mode’. This setting blocks calls and text messages, while also silencing social media alerts.

Eyes On The Road can be set up to send an automatic ‘Hey I’m driving’ message to any blocked calls or SMS messages. The app automatically deactivates itself after being idle for 10 minutes.

Through a partnership with Shell and MSIG Insurance, people are incentivised to use the app with rewards in the form of fuel and insurance premium vouchers delivered through Eyes On The Road after key achievement milestones are reached, e.g. travelling 200km with the app turned on. These achievements can then be shared via Facebook.

Created by Cheil, Singapore, the agency claims the initiative has so far earned an estimated USD$160,366 in earned media.

The app is part of a larger ‘The Road Comes First’ campaign, launched in November 2013 and designed to reach the 83% of Singapore drivers who use their mobile while behind the wheel, despite 95% being aware that it was illegal to do so without a hands-free kit.



Contagious Insight

Through a mix of driver-appropriate incentives and soft paternalism, Samsung’s app is a worthy attempt to reduce dangerous driving habits.

With mobile maps cannibalising the satnav market, drivers are increasingly inclined to mount their handset on the windscreen to help them navigate. Much as we all know it’s wrong to do so, the temptation to answer calls and messages is therefore in drivers' peripheral vision and so ever present.

The concept of a driving mode isn’t necessarily new - see for example Motorola Assist which provides much the same functionality as Eyes On The Road as well as reading out incoming text messages. However, with such a high proportion of Singaporeans using their mobile while driving, it’s clear that the key to the success of this campaign is in actually getting people to use the app - not merely creating it.

It’s a slightly sad state of affairs that people need some incentive beyond the safety of their own lives to keep on the right side of the law. Having realised that, though, it’s smart of Samsung to provide the encouragement to do the right thing through its partnership with Shell and MSIG.

It’s a set-up one can easily see being expanded through contextual rewards based on the driver’s destination, e.g. discount vouchers could be offered for retailers, beverages or popcorn, depending on the destination being the mall, a restaurant or the cinema. It’s a possibility which encourages further usage of the driver’s mobile after they reach their destination, which surely has to be good for a brand like Samsung.

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact