Next Generation...Traffic?: 3rd DimensionĂ¢â‚¬â„¢s Video Cellmate


I hate traffic. So do you (I think).

Unfortunately, there is very little we can actually do about it; the only effective action we can take against traffic doesn't really stop it- we can avoid it. The problem is how do we know when and where it will take place? You can, of course, use applications like INRIX traffic, or Google Maps and Windows Live Search to display visual indication of estimated traffic lockups or real-time accidents. The issue with these services is that inevitably, they are going to be a little behind; or if not, they can often be completely off the mark. 3rd Dimension's new service, initially rolled out under the WCBS Video Cellmate name, aims to redefine the way we look at traffic- literally. Previously available only to users of J2ME, PalmOS and Blackberry compatible phones, at CTIA, 3rd Dimension announced the release of the application for Windows Mobile handsets (both Smartphone and PPC).

By tapping into the Department of Transportation and other camera networks, they have put together a network of real-time, video capable cameras aimed at various roadways. We tested the application on Brooklyn and Manhattan streets, and it performs surprisingly well. Although it isn't all that fast to load, and there is a slightly annoying ad that pops up before you can view any feed, the WCBS Video Cellmate is pretty decent, especially for a free service. Video quality isn't all that great, but then again, it isn't like you need such great resolution to watch traffic. It loops the feed every few seconds, and a few cameras are only still image capable, but on the whole we were okay with the imagery.

While we question the need for streaming video of traffic, it certainly is a great "cool factor" and way to show off your phone- and we've even heard reports of odd uses for it, like people using it to watch the Macy's day parade!

As of now, the service is available for the New York Tri-State area, and you can get in a number of ways.
Either go to the site here and punch in your number for a text message with a link to d/l straight to your handset, or call (877) 880-7623 for the same text message. 3rd Dimension recommends an unlimited data plan for the service.

Disclaimer: Many of the units/applications I review are sent to me at no charge. Sometimes I keep these, and sometimes they are loaner unit/trial applications. Whatever the case, I do my level best to remain impartial- however, we are all only human- me included:).

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