THE AT&T CAMPAIGN
The internet has grown exceedingly since its inception and has brought many possibilities and changes in the way we live our lives. The internet’s influence can be said to be both positive and negative, and one of its negative aspects is that most people tend to use their phones while driving. Statistics have shown that more and more people are becoming addicted to using their mobile devices. Although this habit is generally considered unhealthy, it becomes even more dangerous when driving. Using the phone in any way while driving endangers your life and the lives of other road users, whether it is to answer a call or reply to a text message. There are many attempts to curb mobile phones when driving, such as the handsfree technology invented in 2001. However, the handsfree is more of a coping mechanism rather than a complete overhaul of the mentality. This is where the AT&T IT CAN WAIT campaign comes in to guarantee driving safety.
Purpose of the Campaign
The IT CAN WAIT campaign aims to create awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. This campaign came at a crucial time, especially with parents’ growing concerns with teens old enough to drive. The idea of this campaign is to instill the value of waiting until it is safe before returning a call or responding to a text message or email. Armed with the slogan “No text is worth dying for……It Can Wait”, the AT&T IT CAN WAIT campaign hopes to put an end to the habit of texting while driving to avoid distracted driving.
How it is addressing the issue
To address the issue, AT&T has come up with 8 strategies, and these are:
1. Taking a pledge
Drivers are encouraged to pledge not to text and drive and be accountable for their loved ones. Each driver that takes the pledge can share it on social media to help create awareness. Social media has helped reinforce the movement, which has seen a tremendous increase in the number of pledges taken over the years.
2. Change in driving behavior
The AT&T campaign helps drivers to create a routine that reminds them of their pledges while driving. An automated response is provided for such a situation that will usually prompt drivers to text. This automatic response is sent via text and social media to inform friends or loved ones that they are not available.
3. First-Hand Accounts
By partnering with filmmakers and various speakers, the campaign hopes to create awareness through documentaries and stories of people whose lives changed or ended because of texting while driving.
4. Teen Education
Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and the AT&T campaign uses teens to spread the word on the dangers of texting while driving. The documentaries of real-life events are also provided to high schools across the country.
5. AT&T DriveMode
AT&T also provides a mobile application that sends an automated message to the friends and family of the user. This message notifies them that the user is driving and will respond when it’s safe.
To help drive the point home, AT&T has made simulators that can deliver a near real-life experience of the damages caused by texting while driving. An online version of this simulator is available at https://itcanwait.com with more information.
AT&T and its employees are advocating against texting while driving by incorporating the message into their technology and altering company policy to reflect their position in the fight.
8. Third-Party Support
The campaign has garnered the support of third-party organizations to help in the movement.
ITCANWAIT SIMULATOR APP
A simulation is an animation that imitates real-life scenarios or events, which could be an accident or any similar event that occurs as a result of texting while driving. AT&T provides access to a VR experience through its itcanwait simulator app, online, and a VR chair. The video considered “eye-opening” is also well detailed. Apart from the immersive crash video experience, AT&T also launched the itcanwait app in 2015. Considering that most millennials use their phones a lot, it is easy to see why making a simulator app is an excellent move by the company. This brings the experience closer to the user.
Purpose of the App
As the name implies, this app’s sole purpose is to give the user a simulation of the real-life experience. This app’s availability makes it easy for the user to connect with other apps that optimize the VR experience. Unlike the online video and the VR chair, an app is portable and easy to access the content. You can download the application and other essential gear or software required for the full VR experience from the website.
App Instruction and Use
AT&T offers two apps relevant to its campaign, and these are the DriveMode app and the Itcanwait simulator app. Both apps play independent roles in the campaign, and it’s essential to clarify this.
DriveMode App VS ItCanWait Simulator App
The DriveMode app helps you avoid distractions by silencing incoming messages and redirecting calls to voicemails while driving. The DriveMode app aims to help the user avoid using a phone while driving. It automatically turns up when driving at 25 MPH and above. This is a free app available on the Play store and works better with the GPS turned on. Besides, the simulator app shares the experience of those who have experienced first-hand the dangers of texting while driving in an immersive and captivating way. The simulator app offers users the experience they wouldn’t want to have themselves to convey the point. In most cases, this has been very successful as most users who use the app are more careful and willing to take the itcanwait pledge.
How It works
To begin using the simulator, you will have to enter your email address and sync the app with your smartphone. After setting up the VR simulator, you see yourself in a car’s drivers’ seat, where you then navigate through streets and highways. As you drive, you get to have a realistic experience since the software simulates everyday challenges and obstacles drivers face while plying the road. These include avoiding pedestrians and jaywalkers, swerving vehicles and cyclists, runners, and even stray animals dashing across the street. In navigating this obstacle, you will be sent text messages, and you have to reply to them. The aim is to show you what a “little” distraction like responding to a text message while driving could do. Despite its realistic effect, the simulation may differ from actual driving conditions.
The VR simulation provided by AT&T is not a stand-alone application but must be used alongside other gadgets and software. An example is the Oculus gear VR. Below is a step by step guide on how to begin.
- You can use the simulator on either a smartphone or PC. For smartphone users, you must change the auto-lock/screen timeout settings before proceeding. For non-COUs iPhones, auto-lock should be set to “Never” while COUs iPhones should be set to “5 minutes”. For androids, the screen timeout should be set to 10 minutes.
- For PC users, click here
- After following either step 1 or 2 above, click start simulator to begin. If you’re prompted to install the Unity Player, please do so before continuing.
- Enter the email you used while setting up the simulator to sync with your smartphone.
- You will receive an email from [email protected], open the email, and click on the link provided to start the simulator.
- Once you click on the email link, you will be redirected to a new window in your browser. On the new screen, click “Start”.
- After step 6 above, your device will sync and if you are using a PC, right-click on the simulator window to select fullscreen mode. To exit the fullscreen mode, press the escape key.
- You can either use a driving kit (Wheel and pedal kit) or the arrow keys or keys W-A-S-D on your keyboard to drive the car.
- While driving, you will receive text messages, as would be the case in actual conditions. You can choose to respond to these messages or not.
- At the end of the simulation, you can always restart again by simply following the steps in this instruction.
Note: The Itcanwait simulator app from AT&T only supports the Gear VR platform. The app size is 573.8 MB, it is developed and published by AT&T as part of the itcanwait campaign, and it also requires an internet connection.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- How much does the simulation app cost?
The simulation app is free. However, you may be charged by your internet provider if you don’t have access to a WIFI.
2. Why have I not received the email with a link to start the game?
Sometimes the emails take time to be delivered, be patient. If you still haven’t received it after a while, try doing the following:
- Turn off your firewall.
- Check your junk or spam folder.
- Check your email to make sure you are still receiving emails.
- Check your internet connection.
- Try using a different email address.
3. What is a Unity Web Player?
You can use the unity player mode in viewing online content in 3D. Without the player, you will not have the full experience of the online simulator.
4. Why do I not receive text messages during the game?
Ensure your phone is not in sleep mode. If you still don’t get the messages, try to re-sync your phone or use a different browser. Make sure that you clicked on the most recent link, especially if you had sent and received multiple emails during the setup.
5. Can I use the simulator app on my iPad?
No. You can only use the unity player mode for online viewing on PC, and also you will require a keyboard to navigate.
6. What are the keyboard controls for driving in the simulator?
- Turn left – Left Arrow key or A
- Turn Right – Right arrow key or D
- Accelerate – Up arrow key or W
- Brake – Down arrow key or S
7. What is the itcanwait pledge?
It is a pledge taken by drivers never to get distracted and commit to not using their phones while driving. The pledge is part of a campaign by AT&T to curb the habit of texting while driving by helping drivers create new routines and share in the experience of others.
8. How many people have taken the pledge?
At the moment, over 40 million people have taken the pledge.
9. When was the Itcanwait Simulator App Launched?
The app was launched in 2015.
10. Who developed the itcanwait Simulator App?
AT&T, in partnership with REEL FX Studio, developed this app.
11. What is the size of the app?
The app size is 573 MB.
12. Is the app available for download in Play Store?
No. Unfortunately, the app is not available on the Google Play Store but can be downloaded from Third-party app stores or on the Oculus website provided in the instructions.
13. What devices can be used with the Simulation App?
You can use your phone or a desktop and Gear VR. Gear VR is a Virtual Reality Headset developed and manufactured by Samsung in partnership with Oculus VR. The headset has a controller that lets you navigate the app and is compatible with a Samsung smartphone. The device allows you to view the simulation video in 360-degree.
14. Is the Simulation App the same as the DriveMode app from AT&T?
No. Both apps are useful in the campaign against texting while driving. Still, the DriveMode app is basically to help drivers break the habit of texting while driving by acting as an assistant, and the Simulation app helps educate drivers on the dangers of texting while driving.
As technology advances, it lends us the flexibility to do more in less time. It is not uncommon to see people brag about being able to multitask, which is a word coined to mean doing more than one task at any given time. Despite this being generally accepted, multitasking has proven ineffective, especially in the quality of work produced. However, the idea of multitasking has been thrown around so much that you can see people try to do more than they should in nearly all areas of life. This is also the case for texting and driving.
So, what are the challenges facing the campaign?
According to this article published on the ItCanWait website;
7 in 10 drivers make use of their phones while driving – from using features like google maps, changing your playlist, typing a quick email/text, or receiving a call, any of these activities can distract the driver for a few seconds, and that’s all it takes. The statistics are quite high, and it’s not surprising since each new technology seems to encourage these activities.
The amount of media consumed while driving has doubled since 2015 – everyday algorithms are getting better at predicting what we would like to watch, and this information is being pushed at us from all sides. From what to shop to which movies to see next, we have a lot of media to consume at any given time. This would ordinarily not be a problem unless it becomes an addiction seen among the millennials. All around, you can see people creating or viewing media content while driving.
86% of Car-Share drivers use their phones while driving – ride sharing has become a norm thanks to technologies that make it all possible. However, it is not without its downsides as drivers must actively use the ride-sharing app while driving.It is evident from the research that more work has to be done. This is why AT&T has partnered with many other big companies to spread the word and warn drivers of the impending danger of texting while driving. With daily pledges, effort, and resources to create awareness, and new technology embracing the idea, progress is certainly being made towards ensuring our roads are safer.