Thursday, August 16, 2007

Triple A 2.0

We're all familiar with the American Automobile Association or more commonly AAA or triple A. Over the last 25 years, I've been an on and off Triple A member; usually letting my memberships lapse and renewing when I had a dead battery, needed a tow or some other type of road-side assistance. The proliferation of online mapping and small inexpensive GPS devices has made AAA and their Trip-Tik flip books an anachronism. In fact, it's been quite a while since I've even thought about Triple A - until today.

RCR Wireless news has a great story AAA launches mobile app detailing Triple A's efforts to re-invent themselves, or what I'm calling Triple A 2.0. According to the story, AAA Mobile (available only from Sprint) is a downloadable mobile phone application that offers drivers access to:
  • audible turn-by-turn directions,
  • GPS location information,
  • AAA ratings (hotels, dining, etc), and
  • AAA points of interest.
It's still unclear how widely-available this application will be (members versus non-members and Sprint versus other carriers) and how much the service will cost - early indications are $10 per month. Pricing and availability will be critical factors in determining the success of this application, especially in an already crowded and competitive market (Google Maps, Garmin, TomTom, etc).

It's great to see Triple A attempt to re-define themselves and their market, but you gotta wonder - is it too little, too late?

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