By VINCE MEEHAN | Downtown News
The I.D.E.A. District in Downtown’s East Village is starting to live up to its core concept. The plan is to create a cultural mecca where people can work and live in the same area, while growing a community of like-minded individuals. I.D.E.A. is an acronym, which stands for innovation, design, education and arts, and the district is now being populated by a collection of innovators.
Marko Mandaric is one of those innovators and has jumped head first into this sea of creativity by launching his unique automotive aftermarket security device known as Bmmpr. The idea is simple; the device lets you know via your smartphone if your vehicle has been bumped into. Mandaric is the founder and CEO of Bmmpr and has an office located on 13th Avenue in the I.D.E.A. District.
“The idea came to me when my wife and I were traveling northbound from Los Angeles up to Seattle to do some work with Microsoft,” Mandaric explained. “She had a hankering for some yogurt late night and we pulled off into a very dark and dingy part of Oregon. In that grocery store, while she was picking out her yogurt, it dawned upon me how stupid it is that car alarms don’t actually text you when they go off. It’s a simple concept, but really frustrating reality because every single car out there is just like that. So we got to work on that immediately afterward.”
The Bmmpr.com website features a video of Mandaric bouncing a tennis ball off a vehicle which results in a notification on his phone within seconds. This video went viral and now Mandaric is shipping stacks of boxes of his product to excited customers everywhere. The device is plugged into the diagnostic port of the vehicle, which then syncs up to an app installed on your phone. The device senses any vibration to the chassis of the car much like standard car alarms do. The difference is that it measures the impact to differentiate between a small bump or something more severe. Bmmpr rates the impact and with future firmware updates, will identify break-ins, and towing attempts. Additionally, Bmmpr will integrate with GPS to assist in locating stolen cars and helping with vehicle recovery.
Mandaric says that these software updates will be implemented by the end of the year increasing the value of the app. “In the near future, we’re going to be implementing break-in detection and towing situations. So you’ll be able to tell what’s been happening to the vehicle and have an appropriate response. If somebody backs into your car and it’s a significant amount of damage, you should probably go take a look. But if somebody has broken into the vehicle, you should probably stay away and call the authorities. Each individual car installation has its own cellular connection so you don’t have to be near the vehicle whatsoever. We actually had one of our original investors on his honeymoon in Taiwan get a notification on the other side of the earth about his car in Los Angeles.”
Also in the works will be a feature to allow car owners to hot dial 911 from within the app. “We’ve been working on this for a good solid four years and are really excited to have our units out in the world. Our customers have been waiting for those units it was amazing watching them get installed the day they got delivered. They were eager for our hardware to start doing what we’d showcased on our tennis ball test. It speaks to us that what we’ve created is really something that people want.
The Bmmpr device is available at Bmmpr.com
— Vince Meehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.