A new iPhone app is setting itself up as the solution for all those people who are constantly running a few minutes late...
Currently usable only in the US, the Twist app pulls in an impressive amount of data, including map, traffic and calendar info, to let people know when they should leave their current location to make it on time to an appointment, taking into account distance and driving conditions. For ease of use, new 'twists' can be created directly from a calendar event.
However, to reduce the frustration and worry felt by people waiting for someone to arrive, Twist also sends SMS alerts to designated contacts letting them know what time you left your previous location and provides them with an estimated time of your arrival. The second party can also send their own ETA back to the original traveller with the click of a button.
For people meeting up at restaurants and bars, Twist also gives users quick access to a map of the venue's location, restaurant photos and reviews.
The founders of Twist, tech investor Bill Lee and Google Chrome engineer Mike Belshe, claim that the app's proprietary GPS and cell tower data algorithms effectively minimise battery drain - something which itself is a constant source of frustration for smartphone users.
Although only recently released, Twist is already receiving high-scoring reviews on the App Store and it's easy to see why: everyone knows someone who could do with this app. By crunching a lot of data, Twist provides a solution to one of life's small but real problems.
The functionality of Twist has clear road safety benefits, eradicating the need to text people while driving just to inform them of your current status. As such, we could easily see the app becoming commonly embedded into the dashboards of tech-enabled cars, many of which are beginning to track relevant data such as traffic conditions, location and travelling speed.
We're seeing an interesting, if subtle, shift towards people handing responsibility over to technology and letting it take the strain of life's functional admin. In this case, letting an app dictate when we should leave our houses to meet friends. It's the same approach taken by Google's new Google Now application, which uses information provided by the user's mobile device, e.g. location, calendar appointments, previous serach queries, to provide contextually relevant assistance and suggestions.
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