Hum by Verizon turns any car into a connected car. It helps prevent breakdowns, saves drivers money and even gets help if they have trouble on the road—all through wireless equipment that plugs into your car.
Bringing a new product to millions of automobiles doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a strong vision, combined with a great marketing plan and a team of people who possess deep technical expertise such as programming languages, data analytics and Quality Assurance (QA) testing.
Amit Jain, who leads strategy and business development, explains a typical prelaunch day for the hum team: “You’re constantly working on the product and the iterations. It’s like pre beta testing.” Then there’s customer feedback to incorporate. “You develop; then you go back and test it to make sure that you’re meeting those needs. That constant cycle is very rapid, it’s very robust, and there’s a lot of energy and resources swirling around that.”
Development efforts require expertise such as object-oriented programming, QA testing, embedded C programming and data analytics. In addition to core hardware and software development skills, market research is also central to the team. “Not only do you need to understand the research, but you also need to be able to filter and prioritize it so that you are really getting to the heart of the issues,” Amit says.
The work doesn’t happen in isolation. Working with others is key. “You need to be open-minded,” says Don Wamsley, associate director - customer service.
“When you join Verizon, and during all the subsequent training you take, everything starts and ends with the Verizon Credo,” says Amit. The Credo describes Verizon’s values and culture, placing a strong emphasis on teamwork. “So we are trained to think about teamwork. It becomes your guiding principle.”
Those who worked on hum were at the cutting edge of Verizon’s transformation from a carrier to a digital company. “If job seekers are looking to enter the digital world, they owe it to themselves to consider Verizon in addition to the start ups or Silicon Valley companies they may be looking at,” Todd says. “Because, frankly, they can have similar experiences at Verizon now, which was not the case even four years ago.”
Michael Barclay, customer service manager, sees the opportunity to expand Verizon’s technology reputation. “When you say you work for Verizon, your neighbors and friends want to ask you about cell phones,” Michael says. “Verizon is so much more than that, and with new products like hum, more people will learn about the great things Verizon is doing.”
“Several things make the hum project special,” says Amit. For starters, it advances innovation and the Internet of Things. But most important, Amit says, “This product is able to save lives. We live and breathe that every day.”
Its life-saving component makes hum especially rewarding, says Deep. “When you hear an emergency call from a crying mother who has been in a crash with her baby in the back seat, it gives you goose bumps. That’s something that very few technology teams get to experience.”
“A clear purpose is so important in the workplace today,” says Todd. “More people, especially those just starting their careers, are interested in getting meaningful value from their jobs. They want to know that what they do matters.”