Ficonic Solutions is focussed on the road
Despite rules and regulations, people continue to use smartphones while driving. Finnish software developer Ficonic Solutions has the solution: in-vehicle application Carrio, which drastically reduces driver distraction.
If sitting is the new smoking, then being sat behind the wheel can be extra hazardous. Research shows that visual distraction, where the driver’s eyes are not on the road, plays a part in the vast majority of rear-end collisions.
Nevertheless, more than four out of five drivers admit that they use their phone whilst driving. In an effort to curb this problem, Ficonic Solutions has developed an easy-to-use service known as Carrio that reduces distraction by up to 60 per cent.
“When it comes to road safety, we have a different approach,” explains CEO Timo Salminen. “As people continue to use their smartphones regardless of bans and campaigns, Carrio is designed to be used behind the wheel. With a user interface combi
ned with speech and handwriting, our solution is proven to be significantly safer compared to mobile apps.”
What Carrio does is that it integrates all the information, content and functions one uses during the trip into one app. It’s an infotainment solution available for the Android operating system, thus it can be used in every vehicle, not just in a new and shiny cars with advanced on-board computers.
“The service reads, for instance, emails and WhatsApp messages out loud and news feeds can be skimmed with voice control,” Salminen demonstrates.
This way, the driver can remain focussed on the road and the urge to constantly check the phone is reduced.
Carry on with the success
Ficonic Solutions and especially its Carrio solution have received remarkable attention and success over the couple few months.
Carrio has already been launched in 13 countries this past year. It was nominated in the Newcomer of the Year category at the TU Automotive Awards in the US, and just recently Carrio came second at the Car HMi Awards in Berlin for the Most User-Friendly HMI Feature.
The nominations and attention achieved haven’t been earned overnight. The development of Carrio is an on-going process, and it is constantly being upgraded with new features.
“We continue developing Carrio via partnerships,” Salminen explains. “Even now, there are collaborations, for example, with Here navigation system and podcast and online radio providers. Just recently we started a telematics cooperation, which allows Carrio to utilise vehicle data better.”
Users may import their favourite content into Carrio. Hence, development of the device is contingent on the eager customer base, whose feedback is essential for enhanced user orientation.
“At the moment we are improving a feature that eases reading and sending emails while driving,” Salminen explains.
Not driven to distraction
Ficonic Solutions was found after software professionals from mobile and car industries joined forces, and a private equity investor became excited about the idea of Carrio.
The company is now in a middle of its third accounting period and employs 10 encoders, some of which are also in charge of running the business and marketing. In the last year, its business was already profitable, while the growth was 400 per cent.
“Ficonic Solutions has a two-way revenue,” tells Salminen. “While Carrio is the main product, the company also creates software development and tailored IoT solutions for customers such as Pioneer.
In spite of it still being a novel start-up with limited resources, Ficonic Solutions has already made people to enjoy their time in traffic more.
“My desire is that in the near future Carrio will be a solution for a safer world, where up to 10 per cent of all drivers worldwide will be using it, which means potentially 100 million drivers,” Salminen reveals.
In short, where rubber meets the road, Ficonic Solutions has what it takes to transform the wasted hours spent motoring into quality time, everywhere, safe and sound.
Text: Tuomas Koivisto