Most likely, Apple was only trying to provide a life-saving service to some of its consumers, because it could with their new devices. If Apple knew they could save a few lives, they’d be irresponsible not to do so.
But they didn’t set out to conquer the world of crash detection services. Out of the gate, they proclaimed clearly that they were detecting only severe crashes—and wouldn’t detect all of them. They should be lauded for their efforts to save the lives that they can save and for raising the profile of smartphone-based crash detection.
Why is the industry so worked up?
When the Wall Street Journal wrote about the impending release of Apple’s crash detection last year, interested industries expected it to be big, groundbreaking, exciting and completely innovative. Their severe crash detection was not designed to be any of these things. The methodology they use in their crash detection is today easily achieved through imitation. It’s a commodity technology in use for over five years by relevant industries. But it cannot live up to the expectations and potential of a more sophisticated, re-invented approach.
Industries awaiting change include insurance carriers who want claims automation, automotive OEMs who want to control post collision economics, and fleets who want better data on damage inflicted at lower speeds. All these hopes require sophisticated impact detection and false positive suppression, enveloped in technological and methodological advancements designed to meet the unique needs of an enterprise program.
All Apple said it was going to do was introduce severe crash detection into their latest devices. The rest of the expectations and hype came from within industries desperately in need of a solution.
So, no one can blame Apple for not meeting the expectation that it would solve problems it didn’t set out to solve.
Top three reasons why Apple’s crash detection obviously wasn’t intended for enterprise programs
- Market penetration
Apple has only 15.6 percent of global smartphone market share. Furthermore, the newly released devices will take years to become a dominant part of that market share. Additionally, since Apple smartphones with crash detection range from $799 to nearly $1700, you won’t be able to serve the lower to middle markets, which represents two-thirds of all smartphones sold. We’re certain that Apple knows enterprise programs are trying to reach more customers than are available through their crash detection.
- Crash detection was not designed to share data with enterprise
The crash data Apple collects is self-contained within the phone. It wasn’t intended to be shared with outside sources. To further highlight this, Apple purges the crash data after the event. So much for anyone interested in post-collision claims processing or economics. In fact, there is no way for enterprise to know who their customers are on the phones. There is absolutely nothing for you to use to manage an enterprise program because Apple didn’t intend the product to be used like that.
- Severe crash detection misses the largest portion of collisions, which occur at low speeds
A long-standing goal of industries using mobile-based crash detection as part of their businesses has been to capture crashes at low speeds (without generating a high volume of false positives). The methodology used for Apple’s crash detection is a commodity product. Most any graduate-level engineer can create a crash detection algorithm for smartphones that detects only severe crashes (usually 30+mph). Most experts estimate that 70% of insurance claims are from incidents at low speeds. If you don’t want to miss the majority of incidents, you must reliably detect in the lower speed bands, which no commodity crash detection achieves.
What kind of crash detection technology does an enterprise need?
A successful enterprise program requires a relatively ubiquitous technology (available everywhere), which means smartphones (with 5B+ already in the hands of consumers) and a low service cost so that it can be essentially given away to achieve adoption. Plus, the ability to detect accidents at low speeds (with minimal false positives), and account for all the specific and rigorous needs of an enterprise program.
Are there solutions out there that solve for the three major problems highlighted above?
Sure. But based on our testing, and the testing of third parties looking to select a solution from amongst the industry’s top players, we’re aware of only one that solves for all three. That would be Sfara. Our exclusive ultra low-speed crash detections make us the only company that solves for all three enterprise needs.
Thanks again, Apple
Again, let’s reiterate that Apple did not intend for its crash detection to be used for enterprise purposes. We should thank them for raising the awareness of crash detection services and highlighting just how badly a great solution is needed in the market.
But don’t blame Apple for attempting to replicate the hard work and heavy investment already expended by a few specialized companies. Apple didn’t try to take a big bite out of the industry, it was only nibbling at its skin. Let’s not continue blowing this situation out of proportion. Once all is said and done, this has been much ado about nothing.
And hey, Apple, if you’re listening, if you decide to get into the enterprise crash detection business, we’ll be right here to talk.