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Business Intelligence for Security and Alarm Companies

I just read a story about an application in the US which I posted on our Facebook Page about an alarm company which is providing an application for people who use their home alarm systems, which uses geofences (a line around an area, such as your property)  drawn with a mouse on a map to send a notification to people’s mobiles when they have left home, but haven’t set the alarm.

Of course the first thing I thought of was why didn’t someone in New Zealand think of that. The answer is probably that alarm and security companies in New Zealand are probably too focussed on BAU (Business As Usual) although I’d love to be proved wrong.

Of course GeoSmart has the technology to enable a solution like this. It would be easy to do and could be a huge value add to the purchase of a home burglar alarm. I’d probably go a step further and enable the possibility of arming the alarm remotely when you realise you have dones this and you have already left, or the ability to disarm it if you have someone at home that doesn’t have the code and has just set the alarm off.

I had previously thought that the security industry could use our BIonaMAP application as well, but have focussed on industries where we already have client demand. As you can see on the web page above, BIonaMAP allows you to see your customer locations on a map and run queries from your business data and view it on a map. This could include:

  • Show all customers on a map who have a particular type of alarm
  • Show all customers whose alarm needs a preventative maintenance visit
  • Show all customers who hasn’t ad a visit or sales call within a certain period of time
  • Show all customers in an area by the number of security guard visits
  • Show scheduled visits by security guard run on different nights of the week, different staff in different colours
  • Show results of sales calls including yes, no, maybe or by competitor brand
  • Show domestic clients by demographic
  • Find new clients by demographic statistics e.g. household income right down to street addresses within a mesh block

As an example, this picture illustrates using BIonaMAP to find areas where the people have lived in their homes for between 5 and 9 years AND have a household income of over $80,000 p.a. which could possibly be a good target market to purchase monitored home burglar alarms. BIonaMAP can even provide street addresses for the houses within those shaded areas.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, geosmart, GIS, iphone, Mapping Applications, new zealand, sales territory, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Trust Car Navigation?

This is a subject that comes up frequently in discussions and one that we all wonder about from time to time. We have been in the car navigation business since it started in New Zealand, first working with Navman and then over the years supporting and providing map data to most (not all) brands, where data accuracy is key. I won’t belabour the point that GeoSmart is the only country that continually drives all of New Zealand in our RapidcV mapping car.

If you follow the link above you will see the car not only has many sensors on it, but it also has a pile of cameras. The link explains more about the data the car collects.

In Auckland we have a lab full of specialists in a variety of areas including database, cartography, applications development and more. They source data from a wide range of sources including of course the car, data from central and local government agencies, road transport companies, AA members and the public. They collect, validate and manage data all year round and prepare it for quarterly updates, compile it into various formats for different clients and then our database team uses a variety of Quality Assurance tests for up to a month to try to break the data, in effect to make sure it is as near as possible to bulletproof. Then every quarter we ship the updates to several car navigation companies including of course Navman and TomTom.

The data doesn’t just include exactly where the road is, but also changes to speed zones (to around 10 metres accuracy), roundabouts, traffic lights,road realignments, subdivision updates and much more. Some examples in recent updates include things like the Victoria Park changes including the soutbound viaduct and the northbound tunnel, the Newmarket Switch. It includes lane data and a huge range of Points of Interest from dump sites for campervans and public rest areas through to a wide range of business and recreational locations.

So back to the first question. Can you trust car navigation?

The first answer is whilst our data is 100% driven, validated and mapped, map data is constantly changing and we can’t guarantee the exact completeness at any point in time. We provide an update every 3 months and one of the things you need to consider is how up to date your map data is. If your car nav application uses GeoSmart map data, then they have the latest data and most of them offer free map update deals when you buy a new unit and also ongoing subscriptions to keep your map data current. This is very important.

The image here shows the changes to the Victoria Park Viaduct. If you have old maps, there is every possibility that if you are heading south, your navigation will give you misleading directions based on the old road configuration. For example if you have old maps in your car navigation and are heading to SH16 from the Harbour Bridge, you could be told to keep right then keep left. This should see you on the right hand viaduct which does not provide access to State Highway 16. Now you will have a detour to make, trying to work out how to get back on route. This raises one very important point, you must use your navigation as an aid, in conjunction with what you see outside, while you are driving. If your instructions don’t make perfect sense then don’t follow them. We hear stories of people being told to turn into a canal in Berlin, or wedging their trucks between ancient buildings in Britain. Some common sense would have avoided those incidents.

Assuming you have GeoSmart Maps in your car navigation system and use common sense, then the answer is, yes you can trust your car navigation system. I have been driving with car nav for over 7 years now and I continue to be surprised that there are times when I think the navigation instructions are wrong, (I believe I also ave a very good sense of direction) and the nav found better ways for me to get from A to B even in areas I know pretty well.

Another major factor to consider with car navigation is real time traffic and a number of brands now offer this as a feature. Following is a link to a TV3 experiment where 3 journalists drove from West Auckland to the TV studio. One used TomTom car navigation with HD Traffic (using AA Traffic by GeoSmart), one took the route the locals took and the other followed Google Maps directions. Watch this link to see what happened. I think it proves the point that you can trust quality car navigation devices that have the best current map data.

We welcome your feedback.

March 5, 2012 Posted by | AA Maps, AA Traffic, Auckland, car navigation, driving directions, geosmart, navman, new zealand maps, real time traffic, satnav, tomtom, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ageing of the workforce in freight and distribution

Baby boomers are a major part of our workforce today and play a very important part in the freight and distribution industry. I’m told that the average age of a truck driver in New Zealand today is 49. This presents positives and negatives.

The maturity and experience of these drivers makes them very valuable. They know the road, they know their vehicles and routes and get the job done. They are largely professional drivers, many of whom own their own vehicles. Many were able to do that by borrowing against their homes and the average freight company as we have discussed in previous blogs is 0-5 trucks.These operators tend to be very good at their job, but not well versed when it comes to technology. Applications to help them improve efficiencies in their work need to be very user friendly. That is something that GeoSmart puts a lot of energy to.

The flip side is that not a lot of people are rushing to become truck drivers. Many companies don’t really want them until they reach around 24-25 and have burnt out the lead foot testosterone which could be a disaster in a big half a million dollar rig. By that time, a lot of the working stock that might have gone into truck driving have chosen other career paths, or have moved to other shores such as the mines in Australia where they can earn 3 times what they can get paid in New Zealand. We can hope that they will come back to New Zealand with those savings and experience and use them to invest in their driving career back here. These people are of course extremely tech savvy and will expect to have access to applications and services such as Real Time Traffic, Route Optimisation, Car Navigation, Fleet Management and Business Intelligence.

Car navigation with real time traffic

Keeping these ageing drivers healthy and productive is a sustainability policy in itself. Providing them with tools starting with car navigation with real time traffic is a good start. It’s easy to use and whist these people may know the roads like the backs of their hands, they don’t know that there is an accident or traffic congestion that is going to stop them from getting where they are going. They also don’t necessarily know alternate routes they could be using or what the traffic conditions are there. It could be driving out of the frying pan into the fire. A device that tells them there is a 35 minute delay on their current route, but an alternate route will only have a 10 minute delay could be gold for these people. If you are looking at one of these, make sure it provides coverage for the are they are driving in and has the very latest map data as there have been many changes in New Zealand roads over the last year. GeoSmart produces new map updates every 3 months.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | AA Traffic, Auckland, Business Tools, car navigation, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand, new zealand maps, Oil Price, real time traffic, route optimisation, Route2GO, territory management, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sustainability Generates Profit in the Transport Industry in New Zealand

This month I had the pleasure of presenting to the New Zealand Freight Summit at Auckland University to a diverse group of people from all facets of the transport industry. There were a number of common threads and one of them was sustainability. This is a word that is bandied around a lot, together with concepts like carbon emission trading and taxes, but I wonder how seriously a lot of companies are taking it.

One motivator is compliance. Government departments and many corporates today have KPI’s which require that they do business with companies who have sustainability policies and practices. We have responded to a number of tenders recently which have asked us to specify what sustainability practices we have put in place.

I have read many articles that say that companies which have sustainability practices are more profitable than those that don’t. Obviously the above is one good reason, effectively there are contracts they won’t win simply based on the policy.

There are of course other good reasons that also hit the bottom line. The most obvious one is the rising price of oil. If you use tools such as Route Optimisation and Business Intelligence, you can potentially do more work whilst driving shorter times and distance. That means reduced running costs, reduced maintenance costs, saved time which potentially means being able to do more work in the same amount of time and bottom line increase in profit. Whether your fleet is one vehicle or hundreds, there are savings to be made and they are easy to achieve.

Wellington Traffic 28 February 2012 1:15PM

I really enjoyed showing people AA Traffic by GeoSmart. Many of the delegates were not aware that we have real time traffic congestion information covering virtually all arterial roads and highways throughout New Zealand and Australia. There will be some announcements about this in the very near future. If you are a transport operator, how would you like to be able to see exactly where the congestion is in real time and on the same map, see your vehicle fleet?

Does traffic congestion cost your company by not letting your vehicles get where they want to be on time? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a birds eye of what was going on in real time 24/7? What would that mean to your business? We can help you with that.

Utilising technologies like this can help your company to focus on reducing overheads when the economy is tight and allows you to tell the market that you have sustainability practices, not just policies. Of course in doing so, you are actually taking practical steps to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and doing something good for your country and the planet.

Want to know more about how you can use these technologies in your business? We’d love to talk with you. Contact us today.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia Maps, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, carbon footprint, Delivery, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand maps, Oil Price, petrol, real time traffic, route optimisation, territory management, Traffic, university | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Trust Crowd Sourced Recommendations?

We often hear businesses express concern about people rating products, services and premises on location based applications or web sites. There have been allegations from time to time that comments or ratings may be made by competitors or disgruntled customers, where perhaps the customer’s expectations were unreasonable.

Any of these may happen, but there is more to this situation, in fact several.

1. People are probably talking about your brand online now. The worst thing would be to not be aware of the conversation and not have the opportunity to engage one way or another. It could be to thank people for their positive feedback. It could be to address a concern they have. It is also an opportunity to share those with staff and colleagues. Often positive messages don’t get to those who need it.

2. People trust people they feel are like themselves. Generally they distrust advertising. Why? Because often advertising over-promises. I don’t need to give you examples. Next time you watch TV, study the first five adverts you see and decide whether the information is accurate. if you want underarm deoderant, would you be more likely to trust a TVC, or a friend? If you want to buy insurance or go on a holiday, same question.

3. What can you do about crowd sourced applications and the comments people leave on them? One thing you can do is develop one yourself, or with a group of businesses you are associated with. Another is to join in the conversation and have your voice heard. Another is to offer the sort of service you would like to enjoy if you were the customer, get buy in from your team and encourage your clients to share feedback.

Why

Here is an example from an applications developer called Springwise. Their mobile application has a bar code reader and the ability to scan a bar code, see what other people have said about it and why they think it is a good or not so good product. It also allows people to rate the comments or the person who left the comment. One thing I really like is that they have elements in it where you can click on an icon to explain why you gave the rating or comment, for example the product may or may not be sustainable. This one doesn’t currently have a location based element in it, but there’s an opportunity perhaps for a local developer to do something similar and get us to help.

Another application is being tested in Spain at present designed to allow people to share what appears to be a common problem there, which is where the drink you order may be substituted with cheaper quality or priced ingredients.

The bottom line is that people are talking about your brand or product. Why not get involved with our development partners and encourage the features in applications that you would like to see. Talk to your loyalty card program partners or your business association, or perhaps your mainstreet asssociation. It’s easier than you think. Talk to us:)

February 26, 2012 Posted by | geosmart, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Route Optimisation Is Simple and Accessible

I’ve blogged about route optimisation many times recently. One recent blog talked about Fleet Management, our new BIonaMAP application and some other wonderful concepts, as ideas on how to save your business money and time and thereby increasing productivity and productivity.

I would like to break this down a little bit because there is a misconception out there that all of this technology requires spending lots of money and installing expensive equipment in your company vehicles. Let me break it down for you. There are some wonderful solutions out there, many of which are offered by our valued partners and they all have a purpose and fulfil business needs. Some business problems are complex and require complex solutions and some are simple and provide very quick return on investment.

So here is a simple problem. You have one or more vehicles which need to go out on the road and do several jobs. They may be regular runs, or they may be different each day. Let’s make it even simpler. Let’s break it down to one vehicle. You may have lots of vehicles, but let’s just look at one of them.

Here we have a merchandiser, who has to visit a number of supermarkets. One person has to visit 9 grocery stores, checking their stocks, managing the shelf placement, demonstrating new products, taking orders. As do many field sales people in New Zealand and Australia, their territory comprises of urban calls and calls out in the country and they spend a lot of their time driving.

The problem is that you can only fit so much time in a working day. You can have a pretty good idea of what order to do the jobs in, probably the order you always do them in. The other problem is that the price of petrol is going up, prices are coming down and your budget is going up. You need to get smarter.

Our Route2GO Lite application is a simple web service. There is no software to be installed, no set up fees and as Software as a Service you only pay for what you use. In this case person, who is a great sales person, spent 28 1/2 hours in the car, dead  time between calls in order to make those essential visits. Route2GO worked out how she could do the same visits but spending only 22 hours in the car. Now she can either fit in more calls in the same amount of time or spend more time with each client enhancing the relationship, doing product knowledge training with their staff and increasing the average sales she generates from those clients, which reduces the pressure on her and her sales manager to get the results the company needs.

We also cut over 400km in driving distance from this sales trip. At even $1 per km that’s a lot of money going back to the bottom line.

So what do you need in order to achieve a result like this? A PC with a web browser. An account with GeoSmart and a little time. For this run which included 9 clients and returning to base with a pile of orders, the total cost to GeoSmart would have been $6.25. No hidden surprises, that’s it. This includes the fee for geocoding (generating coordinates for calculating the route) and the optimisation from the office, to the 9 stores and back to the office. Oh and the cost of a piece of paper if you want to print off the above map and route.

It really is that simple. If you want to know more, why not contact us? We’ll even do a couple of runs for you for free, preferably ones you have already done previously so you can get a genuine comparison as to whether it will work for you. This was a dramatic example, in some cases it might only save you a little, but if we could help you visit one or two more customers in a trip without increasing your fixed overheads, every trip, hat would that add up to over a year?

We have more information about route optimisation in our blogs, so why not have a scroll through and see if you can find an example that’s relevant to your business. In an upcoming blog I will explain in simple terms what route optimisation actually is and why we can do it better than you can drawing pictures on a map. The key point of this exercise is that you can achieve dramatic results without putting in any money upfront and without having to buy any technology you don’t already have. Route2GO is available for New Zealand and Australia.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, Business Tools, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, location based services, Mapping Applications, new zealand, new zealand maps, Retail, route optimisation, Route2GO, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, territory management | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Petrol Will Keep Going Up in Cost

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that petrol and diesel could well hit the highest prices ever this year. This is likely to have a significant impact in New Zealand and Australia where we rely on other countries to provide our fuel. Irrespective of the state of our economies, we are relatively low in the rungs of priority if supplies become short worldwide. Obviously oil demand is increasing globally, irrespective of international politics and our exchange rates. The following graph shows the trend just over the last 3 months.

The implications are obvious. If you have a fleet of vehicles on the road, your running costs are going to increase and you have very little control over what you are going to pay for fuel.

Using technologies such as Fleet Management from our partners, you will have the ability to manage some costs. This includes:

  • Monitoring driver behaviour such as harsh acceleration, speeding and other activities such as engine idling time where reports can identify drivers who may benefit from education on the impact of these activities to your costs.
  • Monitoring the use of the vehicles, eg personal use or order of use.

You might look at operational improvements such as whether it is more economical for the driver to start from home, closer to their first jobs in the morning as opposed to leaving the vehicle at the depot. You might want to focus more on load management, are you sending trucks out with a load but bringing them back empty? You might want to look at whether there are other jobs in the vicinity of the vehicle that could be completed without the vehicle coming back to base and going out again.

GeoSmart has a number of tools that can help you with these considerations. For example Route Optimisation with Route2GO can help you eliminate the guesswork of what order jobs should be done in. If someone is going out and doing one or 2 stops and going back, that’s one thing, but if a vehicle is making several stops on a trip, it is unlikely that many people have the ability to work out the best order to do the jobs in.

Route optimisation takes into consideration every possible sequence of all the stops on your trip, with an underlying knowledge of turn restrictions (one way streets, no left turns), road class (speed zones, a shortest route might include many compulsory stops trying to cross busy main roads and driving slightly farther might not only speed up the trip but by not stopping and starting through the gears, will consume less fuel) and other considerations. The computer has no emotions, it just solves a technical problem and provides you with a result that will tell you the best order in which to do the work, complete with expected driving distance and time. This can produce a run or job sheet that can also give you an idea, based of your knowledge of expected time on site, as to how many jobs may be completed in one day.

Business Intelligence is a whole new story. Imagine being able to see all your clients on a map, run queries and reports based on any information you have in your database or work management application. How would you like to be able to manage run territories, understand profitable clients, see where upcoming jobs and priorities are, without having to install any software? All you need is a web browser and an internet connection. A picture speaks a thousand words and being able to visualise your business on a map can shed a light on what is going on in your business in a way that is often very difficult to get from spreadsheets and tables. GeoSmart’s new BIonaMAP Business Intelligence on a Map can help you put the pieces together and show you what your business looks like.

We can help you keep your fuel costs under control with practical web based tools that will provide you with the information you need by visualising and viewing your business operations on a map. Information is power.

These solutions support all of Australia and New Zealand so if that is where you are, why not contact us to find out how we can help?

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Delivery, Distribution, Fleet Management, Freight, geosmart, new zealand, Oil Price, petrol, route optimisation, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How we are helping the future greening of New Zealand

A couple of statements by David J. LePoire drawn from his essay “Beyond (Conventional) Renewable Energy?” caught my eye this morning. He said that “If energy use had grown as fast as the economy, the United States would be using an estimated 60% more energy than it does now. We’ve improved energy use in buildings, electrical appliances, cars and industrial processes. These applications are often motivated by cost savings.” There are often stories about how companies who focus on sustainability in a concerted way will become more profitable as a result, but often there is little information on where the increased profitability will come from.

There has been a lot of discussion about how green New Zealand really is and which initiatives are going to help us go forward in the way I believe most Kiwis want toThe elections are close and the parties are all telling us what their policies are going to be.

Meanwhile there are many companies who are just working business as usual with an eye to a better future. GeoSmart is one of those companies. So what are we doing?

First, we have driven every road in New Zealand for many years, but in the last few years we have been driving with phenomenal technology put together in New Zealand by Kiwis, which allows us to map New Zealand roads to sub 1 metre accuracy even when there is GPS shadow or at times (not uncommon particularly in the South Island) where there is no GPS sugnal available at all for periods of time. Tests show that we tend to be accurate to around 15cm which is as good as I believe you can get without having surveyors and laser theodolites on the ground.

This in itself means that we are able to provide highly accurate data to users of our routing web services, such as AA Maps and mobile applications such as Rugby2GO. It means that people will not be sent up paper roads that don’t exist, confirms speed zones and intersection controls and other information that doesn’t always get provided to us by the authorities.

Quality routing means that people can get the best routing information to meet their needs. For example the shortest route is often not the fastest.

We also collect road inclinometer. That is the rate of incline on hills, of which we of course have many in New Zealand. Our car navigation clients are getting more involved in eco-routing which means you can choose the route which will consume the least fuel. That means that effectively, irrespective of what type of car you drive, you can save money while also helping to save our environment.

We are also collecting data about the camber or angle of the corners. Because of the volatile nature of our country with frequent earthquakes, floods and slips, geothermal activity, the condition of corners may change. When a corner changes and noone knows about it, this can be the cause of serious accidents, such as with large trucks and trailors who may be obeying the speed advisory signs, but the conditions have changed since they were set. We are working with sophisticated Fleet Management companies who are going to use this data, combined with their knowledge of their clients’ vehicle set ups, roll over specifications and load information to alert drivers that they may be going too fast for the conditions of the road. This can save insurance conmpanies millions of dollars, not to mention reducing the inconvenience of motorists having to deal with travel delays as the incidents are examined and detours put in place.

Another major area for us is real time traffic. You are probably aware that we built and maintain the AA Roadwatch website and and provide services including real time accident, incident and congestion data throughout New Zealand and Australia to major car navigation brands. AA Spokesperson Simon Lambourne was quoted in an article in the NZ Herald earlier this week that studies have shown that “when 10 per cent of drivers use real-time traffic information to avoid jams, journey times drop 5 per cent for everyone.” Find out more about AA Traffic by GeoSmart here.

Route optimisation is becoming more important. We have written a number of blogs on this topic and more and more companies are coming to us to use this service and variations of it. Essentially  if a person has a number of sites to stop at during a day’s work, our SaaS application Route2GO Lite geocodes and calculates the best order to make those visits in, to drive the least amount of time via the most efficient route. This results in increased productivity and reduced overheads. It is also sustainable. Are you able to tell your clients that your business uses technology to benefit the environment as well as the company’s bottom line and provide better service to boot?

Talk to us about how we can help you become more sustainable whilst increasing profit.

November 7, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, AA Traffic, Auckland, Australia, Business Tools, car navigation, carbon footprint, driving directions, geosmart, gps, Mapping Applications, navman, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, route optimisation, Route2GO, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, SaaS, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized, Web Map | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Socialisation – Loyalty Cards and Gamification

Ultimately if you want people to use your loyalty card, visit and spend lots of money enjoying your service, products and services, wouldn’t you rather they bring their friends and family, or encourage them to come and join them. There are gender differences here of course. Shopping for women is often a social activity, something to be enjoyed with friends and is an outing in itself. For guys that might be the case for specific things like food and beverage, electronics and sporting gear (I am generalising and there are of course exceptions:) but in general terms a fun group outing is more likely to be going to a bar, a sporting match etc. Of course hospitality, entertainment, attractions etc are all most enjoyed if done with friends.

Foursquare in its points structure will give you more points if you log into a location at the same time as your buddies. Tap City uses Foursquare Points of Interest and has a game element where you can take ownership of a location by attacking it and getting your buddies to join you in the attack, turning it into a real game, but one that requires that you do check in to places to complete certain activities.

FREE App Rugby2GO for Android and iPhone

Loyalty programs for single venues or large programs with many venues are all there to generate business for your destination premises. This opens up great opportunities for incentives. In many cases points and recognition are enough, but why not encourage people to not only participate but also to get their friends to sign up. For example, lets say we had a loyalty card for restaurants and entertainment. You could have a deal where if you bring a friend to a cafe, you get 2 points, or maybe a free muffin, but if your friend becomes a member of the loyalty program and joins you there, you get more. Its Rugby time in New Zealand with loads of tourists going to Fanzones and enjoying the restaurants, bars, concerts and shows that go with the World Cup. A lot of people have Smartphones and are enjoying FREE iPhone and Android applications like Rugby2GO which has all the Real New Zealand Festival locations on it complete with directions from wherever you happen to be.

These apps are great and are a perfect stepping point to creating social engagement. If they allow you to upload all of your friends from your various social networks in the way applications like Foursquare, Instagram, Layar, and countless others do, then you are already crowdsourcing for free. All you need to do now as an application host is encourage them not only to get their friends to your location using the gamification we have talked about in our other recent blogs, and then also get them to invite them to install the app and join, perhaps using a promo code that recognises that your friends have joined them and identified them as friends, which also of course helps with your profiling.

South Africa v Namibia

Profiling people into groups with similar interests is of course something that Google has introduced with its Google+ circles and we are starting to see this in applications. So if you own a bar or number of bars, are showing the Rugby on your big screens, wouldn’t you like to be able to encourage your loyalty program members to not only invite their friends, but have them sign up to the program, reward them for doing so, then give them a great time so they want to come back, with their friends. This is known as crowd sourcing and also plays a part in viral marketing.

As a footnote on viral marketing, a reminder that you do not do viral marketing, your customers, friends and program members do that. All you can do is facilitate it. Create an environment they want to be at and share and they will do it for you. Of course you have to deliver on your promise and make sure they really do enjoy themselves. There is so much more you can do once you get started and of course we are full of great ideas and desire to help you make it work for your loyalty program. Why not Contact Us and have a chat about it?

October 5, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, Android, foursquare, geosmart, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Mobile maps, proximity based marketing, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Adding Game Mechanics and Location To Loyalty Cards

Following on from my last blog Adding Location to Loyalty Cards, an area that I feel is really important is game mechanics. One of the problems with loyalty cards is that they are inherently boring and there are lots of them. We live in a world of constant distraction and we want instant gratification. However that gratification doesn’t have to be a free air ticket or turbo food processor with Ginzu knives. It can be as simple as points or recognition and applications today need to evolve as the public become more tech savvy on their mobiles.

What is game mechanics and how is it relevant? Playing games is part of who we human animals are. Games are a natural part of entertainment and education, whether it is a child doing its first jigsaw puzzle, or the All Blacks heading into a rugby match at that international world competition for a cup. Yes, ultimately no matter how passionate we are about success, Graham Henry and the NZRFU themselves said “It’s just a game.”

Games are immensely popular and computer and mobile  offers massive revenue potential. Gartner predicts that the global video game industry on its own will generate revenues of over US$112 billion by 2015. That doesn’t even take into consideration mobile. Application developers have been all over Facebook, now on Google+ and on devices such as iPhone, iPad and Android and now developers of smart location based games and marketing applications are heading the same way.

Developers are looking to use our interest and passion for playing games to influence the behaviour of consumers and it is working. One obvious area is in the retail, travel, tourism, attraction, hospitality and entertainment industries. Of course as I have outlined in many recent blogs, loyalty is a key aspect that all of these industries are looking for, or in other words, profitable repeat business.

So what aspects should a loyalty application include. A major one is achievements. I’ve talked about reward and that rewards don’t have to be tangible items. A reward can be points such as the points used by Foursquare when you check into a location. They also have badges and mayorships which are either the reward itself or their may be special deals or offers made to those people who come in regularly. The new Tap City game allows you to earn virtual dollars for checking in. One of the great things about group loyalty operations is the ability to cross market, for example using a passport concept where the more locations you check in to, the more rewards you get.

The appointment dynamic is extremely powerful. This is where you want people to do something at either a predetermined time or an ad hoc time. For example a restaurant that is always quiet between 3PM and 5PM on a particular day of the week might offer incentives within the application to get more business at that time of day. The concept I like the most, is pushing deals when you have inventory you want to use in a hurry. An example might be the special of the day in a restaurant where you haven’t sold as much as you catered for. The classic story I often use of a jet boat that is going out in 20 minutes with 5 empty seats. This is a perfect opportunity to push a deal to people who are close by and have opted in to be offered deals. The cost differential between having 4 or 9 passengers is negligible but the fun and entertainment factor of 9 people screaming as the boat does a 360 degree spin is significantly greater for all, including the 4 who paid full price. There is also a potential dynamic of more people seeing them having fun and therefore wanting to have a go themselves. The same could apply to any attraction, like the luges in Auckland and Queenstown.

Queenstown Luge

I can come up with a hundred concepts for different types of locations for cafe’s, restaurants, attractions, theatres, travel, accommodation, entertainment, retail, sport, tourism and so can you.

I will continue this blog next week with more thoughts on game mechanics or gamification that you might like to consider in your location based application. Remember, GeoSmart has all the data and tools you ned to make these ideas possible and whilst we don’t develop these sorts of applications ourselves, we have many partners who are keen to assist you if you want to take advantage of the opportunities now possible because of the large number of people using location aware mobiles. The question is how much extra business would you like?

Maybe you would like to join the discussion and leave a comment of your own to add to the mix?

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Check Ins, foursquare, geosmart, iphone, lbs games, location based services, Mapping Applications, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Sales, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment