Noticing the rise in accidents related to distracted drivers, combined with a personal distraction-related mishap, Baton Rouge native Robert Guba was compelled to develop a product that helps alleviate driving distractions for fleets and families. Fostered by the Louisiana Technology Park, Guba launched Cellcontrol whose DriveProtect service uses a patented Bluetooth configuration to identify and disable a driver’s mobile device while they are driving. The tamper-resistant technology detects when a vehicle is in motion and immediately enforces the disabling capabilities. This feature temporarily blocks all text messages and emails, sends incoming calls to voicemail, and prevents all outgoing calls, except for 911 calls, allowing drivers to maintain their focus on the road. Guba tells his Louisiana innovation story:
What inspired you to develop Cellcontrol?
[A] I first had the idea for Cellcontrol while watching my son walk down the hallway at home. He was texting and walking at the same time and walked right into the wall at the end of the hall. Shortly after that, I was talking to a friend and soon-to-be co-founder who’d just heard the news of two large-scale traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. The worse of the two was a commuter rail accident in California resulting in the deaths of 25 people and the injuring of 135 others. That was in late 2008, and it was very evident that we had happened upon a quickly emerging market and an absolute need to put an end to smartphone-related distractions, especially behind the wheel.
[Q] Why did you pick Louisiana to launch Cellcontrol?
[A] I am a Baton Rouge native, but was living in Austin, Texas, when I was wooed back to Baton Rouge in 2006, in part by the Louisiana Technology Park, to grow my company, Trace Security. When it came time to launch Cellcontrol, staying in Louisiana for its business-friendly environment, as well as the services and amenities I found at Louisiana Technology Park, was a no brainer.
[Q] What is Cellcontrol doing that no other company is doing?
[A] Cellcontrol is the recognized industry leader in technology solutions to stop distracted driving for fleets and families. The company’s cornerstone DriveProtect service uses a patented Bluetooth signal to prevent drivers from interacting with their mobile device while they are driving. The tamper-resistant technology accurately detects when the vehicle is in motion and immediately begins enforcing a mobile policy. This policy can prevent all texts and emails, sends incoming calls to voicemail, prevents outgoing calls (except 911 and other white-listed numbers) and limits any other functionality of a mobile device. DriveProtect is the only approved solution for Apple iPhone and works on multiple mobile platforms on thousands of digital devices.
[Q] When did you realize that Cellcontrol would be a success?
[A] We were always confident in the superiority of the Cellcontrol technology, including our patented non-pairing Bluetooth technology and the fact that our solution is so much more accurate than any GPS-based solution. It’s been great to see the overwhelmingly positive response from the wireless and automotive industries, in addition to our customers. Cellcontrol has been praised throughout the wireless and automotive industry for its precision and focus in a world of screen-distraction prevention. The company has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Consumer Reports and numerous other publications and media outlets across the country.
Cellcontrol’s latest innovation, the patent-pending driver identification platform DriveID, was chosen as a 2014 CES Best of Innovations honoree. Selected by a panel of technology and industry experts, the company joined a small, elite group of innovators that receives the honor each year.
[Q] What would you say to aspiring Louisiana entrepreneurs and innovators?
[A] You don’t have to leave Louisiana to launch an innovative company and be successful. Just about everything you need to be successful exists right here in Louisiana: resources, infrastructure, services. Add to this the low cost of doing business and some of the most aggressive incentives in the country, and there’s not a better place to be successful.
There’s a culture here that you cannot find anywhere else. From the food, to the music and everything in between, our clients and our partners are always commenting on how unique and fun Louisiana is. We work hard, but we also play hard.