As our inaugural blog post, the first topic we thought we would cover is the history on how our concept came about, and how we see it growing in the future. We intend to introduce additional features to Windshieldink as we move forward in order to expand the functionality and add further value for our Windshieldink users.
It all started back in the mid-1990’s in Calgary, Alberta in a mall parking lot. After we parked, we got out of the car and suddenly noticed there was an elderly man slumped in the front seat of the car beside us. Recognizing this man was in a critical emergency situation, we quickly called for help. After this incident, we realized what a benefit it would have been to have the capability to alert anyone associated with that car, or any other car in fact, because a vehicle is essentially anonymous to the public. And it still remains so 20 years later.
More recently, driving down an Ontario expressway, we noticed a muffler hanging precariously from a car. Sure this is a minor issue, however, once again we wished there was a way to contact that car owner.
Then came the light bulb moment: with today’s mobile technology and the rapid growth of mobile apps, facilitating messaging between car owners can be made simple and can become a part of everyday life and road safety.
After thinking about the idea more, as well as constantly seeing stories on the news about pets or children being left in hot cars, we decided to do something about it – and thus we developed Windshieldink. As you can tell, the name is derived from the fact that, currently, the only way to get ahold of a car owner is to leave a handwritten note on their windshield.
The idea that you can register your license plate and assign to it a contact email or SMS number is very simple. We understand that people will have reservations about potentially being contacted inappropriately or harassed, but in their early stages, many of us had some of the same fears with listed phone numbers, email addresses, or being part of Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network. The ability to block senders or expel them from Windshieldink will hopefully help address some of these concerns as well.
From the sender’s perspective, sending an alert message or being a good samaritan to someone you don’t know may be a bit intimidating. However, we feel that it is great to have the opportunity for this kind of communication, because right now it doesn’t exist.
Ultimately, Windshieldink can be looked at like an insurance policy – you buy insurance with the hope that you will never have to use it. Similarly, getting a message sent to your license plate may possibly be alerting you about something that is not necessarily positive, but getting such a message is better than not getting it. You may never receive a message sent to your license plate, and for that reason we do not charge a fee for the service. Simply set it and forget it and it costs you nothing.
We hope that the Windshieldink user community will continue to grow and the Windshieldink platform can become commonplace and ultimately a benefit to all who register.