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Traffic School Takes High-Tech Approach

THE BRIEFING Traffic School Takes High-Tech Approach Armen GeoSimonian was in a quandary after he dissolved his business Traders Online. Driving home after the dissolution proceedings, his mind became distracted while mulling over potential business ventures. Inspiration struck at perhaps the least likely time: when he got pulled over by a cop for speeding. The incident provided the genesis for his next enterprise, an online traffic school that would allay the hassles of having to drag oneself into a Traffic School on a Saturday Afternoon to watch Red Asphalt 1-7. GeoSimonian’s new company, Traffic101.Com was one of the first online traffic schools to come into existence when it debuted in 1997. Since then the company has continued to expand and remain profitable even as numerous other online traffic schools have entered the fray. Today, Traffic101.com operates in six states and plans to add four more by the end of 2004. The service costs $24.95 throughout the Valley. “Originally, when we first started getting courts to try the service, it was very difficult. We only had one or two small courts in Modoc County and we hardly had any business. They only chose to allow it because there customers were in such remote areas that it seemed beneficial to their residents. Slowly and slowly more and more courts began to look into the option. In our first year of business, we only serviced California with only a handful of courts but it was always profitable from day one. Over the years, we’ve grown drastically. We are in six different states and we’re talking to four more. We expect revenues to triple once we receive these new states. It’s been an interesting journey. “The biggest conflict has been the courts. They always ask how can you verify who is taking the course over the Internet. Some schools offer the courses online then make their customers come in and take the final exam in a room monitored by a proctor. We chose from Day 1 not to take that route. We started working on a new technology that would allow us to verify the students’ identity over the Internet. The way it works is that we provide the user a free Web camera, and when they get to the final exam they stay at home and plug in the camera. While they take the exam, we use face recognition technology to verify that it is indeed the person taking the course.” Jeff Weiss

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