GeoSmart Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Great Value with Air New Zealand Taxis

I recently took a 3 week trip to the US and was reviewing whether to look for a low cost car park facility at the airport and have the hassle of leaving early to go to the park facility and then on my return having to call them to pick me up in a van, wait for it to arrive etc, you know the story, all the stuff you don’t need when you are tired after close to 24 hours of travel.

I decided to try the Air New Zealand Taxi service, which is one of our clients. They use our routing engine to determine the fastest route in time and distance and then allow you to select from 5 different transport options, from a shuttle to an executive car. They guarantee the fare, which you pay up front and even give you airpoints.

One of the things you often worry about with taxis is whether they will arrive on time and of course being an Air NZ service, they not only link your service to your flights,  but they they guarantee that if your transport hasn’t arrived within 15 minutes of the booked time they will provide you with a replacement vehicle AND a full refund. That’s confidence in their own service!

I booked them for the return trip as well and this gave me extra confidence when my flight from Denver to Los Angeles broke down, that Air New Zealand Taxis would know if I ended up having to catch a later flight having missed the one I was scheduled for. It was also nice arriving back home in Auckland and seeing a driver waiting there with my name on a sign.

I’ll be using this service again and am happy to recommend it both because they are a valued client, but more importantly because it is a great service. You know what you are getting, you know the cost up front and they deliver on their promise. On top of that, of course you are supporting New Zealand businesses and saving time and money.

Btw, the site was developed by our friends at Bocapa.

Advertisements

August 3, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, driving directions, geosmart, location based services, map tools, new zealand, new zealand maps | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Excited About the Franchise Expo in Auckland

We are exhibiting at the Franchise Expo in Auckland which runs on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

We will be demonstrating our new BIonaMAP application which has now been officially launched and from day one fully supports all of Australia and New Zealand.

BIonaMAP allows franchisors, franchise consultants, sales managers, service managers, distribution and the franchisee themselves to see what is going on in their business on a map. It allows you to create territories on a map on your browser, ask questions about your customers, prospects and analyse your business, viewing the results on a map without having to install any software.

Which Territory Does An Address Belong To?

It will allow you to download reports from your Accounting Software, Franchise Software, CRM and visualise what is going on in your business on a map. You can print off maps, publish aspects of the reports such as a query on a unique territory to a web page with custom controls and much more.

Features include being able to locate which territory a new prospect or customer belongs to. The ability to create territories using your mouse and snap them together so that noone gets missed out.

A powerful feature is the ability to query Department of Statistics Census data. If you know the demographic of the type of customer you are looking for, you can run queries and see the results on a map.

You can display your customers on the same map to see if what you think is your perfect customer demographic is in fact where you business is coming from.

There are so many features, you really need to come and visit us at the expo so we can discuss your unique business and how we can help.

A picture speaks a thousand words and can allow you to really understand what is going on in your business.

You can see more on the BIonaMAP website, but we would really love to speak with you in person about your business whether you are a consultant or business analyst looking to assist your clients, or you are a franchisor or startup, looking at how to really understand the growth opportunities for your business, how to create and manage fair and successful territories, we have a solution.

BIonaMAP is totally browser based and what we call Software as a Service. This means you can use it anywhere you have Internet access. No installation costs and you are in control of your data and how it is used. Please come and visit our stand at the Franchise Expo. If you do plan to visit, get a FREE EXPO PASS from this link. If you can’t make it, then please contact us on phone 09 966 8730 or email info@geosmart.co.nz and we will get back to you.

July 23, 2012 Posted by | driving, education, Fleet Management, foursquare, Freight, ICT, navman, new zealand, Return On Delivery, Reverse Geocoding, Rugby World Cup, SaaS, school, Sport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gamification, Sustainability and Feeding a Local Community

Designers Chacha Sikes and programmer Anselm Hook created an exciting online application during the Creative Currency hackathon in San Francisco recently. Called Lemonopoly, the concept is that people can locate lemon trees in their community on a map.

The idea is to involve the community is various ways. It may be to help people look after the trees, to be able to share the fruit with other people in the community or perhaps the opportunity for people to sell their lemons. This could work nicely here with organic fruit in conjunction with Giapo, who would of course pay for them in Giapo dollars that people can redeem for their wonderful ice creams and gelato.

A story in Springwise says “Users score points for their team when they add a tree to the map, add a tree that produces edible fruit, share lemons from a tree they own, offer to teach others how to aid lemon distribution and team up with a grocery willing to sell local fruit. ”

People can also win points by offering services such as picking and pruning, making marmalade etc.

This is a great way for people to be motivated to get more involved in their local community and the gamification aspects make it attractive, tying people in to the concept. We would love to support local initiatives in developing concepts like this using GeoSmart web map and development tools across New Zealand and Australia. We offer free Developer Agreements and flexible commercial models for developers. Something like this would make a brilliant mobile application supporting local communities.

 

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Gamification, geosmart, gps, location based services, new zealand, Social Media, Sustainability, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harnessing Your Business Data with a Map

There was a very good article on from eMarketer this month about the difficulties for online retailers in accessing, sharing and analysing information about their business. This is something we have found relates to all business, not just online. Business is all about numbers and understanding what your customers want and when. It doesn’t matter if you are a bricks and mortar retailer like the very successful Briscoes, a supermarket chain selling high volume for low margin or a company with a field sales or service workforce. Success comes down to being able to access quality information.

In retail the key information tends to be about stockturn, aged stock, shelf space, gross profit by product and category and so on. Retailers and department heads will have standard exception reports that arrive on their desks, daily, weekly and monthly and they will make their buying and promotional decisions based on these reports.

As per the table, research shows that often data is used for the key purposes of business as usual, but often it is only available to a few people and there is very little use made of information about who the customers are, where they come from, the context in which they do their shopping and much more.

GeoSmart’s BIonaMAP is a tool that can allow companies to visualise more information in a way that allows them to look strategically at location based information about their business. It might be a retail chain deciding where to place their next store, a loyalty program that wants to understand their customer demographics or a sales or divisional manager wanting to create fair and manageable sales territories.

By combining information from the Point of Sale system or the financials with a map, it becomes possible to cut through the clutter and see the big picture. BIonaMAP is a SaaS (Software as a Service) application. What that effectively means is that all you need in order to use it is a web browser and an Internet connection. You don’t need to install any software.

Now you can share information with whoever needs it, management,sales and marketing, business partners and suppliers. It might be about where your customers live or work, which ones use one of your products but not another. It might be customers within a certain distance from a store or using demographics to decide where best to place your next store. The potential is limited by your imagination and currently to within Australia and New Zealand. Effectively anything that has a location element to it and where data can be exported as a CSV file from your financials, CRM or other application can be interrogated within BIonaMAP.

Do you suffer from death by spreadsheet or wish you could see the big picture, large corporate, franchise or SME, we would like to talk to you about how to harness your business data and increase your productivity and profit.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, geosmart, GIS, Loyalty Card, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Retail, Retail Profit, SaaS, sales territory, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whose territory does a new prospect belong to?

Does this sound familiar to you? We talk to companies all the time who have problems with who to allocate a new customer or prospect to when they ring the sales or franchise company or call centre. Sales territories have always been a bit of a problem to deal with, but this will no longer be a problem for people who use GeoSmart’s new BIonaMAP business intelligence SaaS (Software as a Service) application.

Old school BAU (Business As Usual) is still the way most sales and service companies work. They pin a map on the wall, draw the territory on it with a sharpie pen and write the name on the map. There are always arguments over whether a territory includes both sides of the road, where the suburb boundaries are and don’t even start about what happens when you want to modify a territory.

Queen Street

If the call centre or people taking the calls don’t have access to the map when new customers ring, there can be major time wasting and potential for problems ensuring that the right person is dealing with the client quickly and professionally in order to secure new business. There are also issues over making sure the address is correct. There are a dozen Queen Streets in Auckland and we have heard plenty of stories about people driving up and down a road in the wrong suburb looking for a client they are meant to be meeting with. Then there are vanity suburbs like the person on Remuera Road who say they are in Remuera, but they are actually in Newmarket and knowing which numbers of the street belong in which territory. It is a problem that has been around for years.

This problem goes away with BIonaMAP and there are a number of ways that we can deal with it. Some companies are simply going to use a query on the BIonaMAP home page which effectively allows you to start entering the address, with an autocompleter allowing you to select from a drop down menu to get the right one. Some companies are going to integrate this function right into their accounting software, CRM or other business database application, which means that the full correct address with Post Code and correct suburb as well as the coordinates are recorded into the right fields.

What makes this different? Database applications on their own can deal with suburbs or post codes, but typically can not deal with spatial queries, i.e. in what territory or polygon does this belong to? The answer effectively will be one of the following:

  • It belongs in Territory X.
  • It appears in Territory X and overlapping Territory Y (e.g. a sales and a service territory)
  • It doesn’t appear in any territory

If this is an issue that you have to grapple with in your business, why not contact us and ask us how BIonaMAP can help you?

BIonaMAP is available for New Zealand and Australia and has a host of location based business analytics capability. It is Software as a Service which means no software installation and it can be accessed by using a web browser. We also welcome inquiries from sales, service, franchise and other business consultants, resellers and systems integrators.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, systems integrator, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banking, Finance, Location and Business Intelligence

I was just reading an article about some research from Avaya and BT about The Autonomous Customer. It reiterates a lot of inmation you already know but should perhaps be reminded of.

  • 60% of respondents said they change their contact channel with brands based on context, i.e. where they are and what they are doing.
  • 51%, the autonomous customers, cut organisations out of the loop altogether but trust the advice of unknown others on forums, review sites etc.
  • 46% regard customer loyalty as a thing of the past

I found this research through an article at thewherebusiness.com which discussed research about how people are managing their money. Where they bank, how they decide to borrow money and the influence in location on those factors. It makes for interesting reading and whilst New Zealand is a small country and has few banks, one element that shone through with high relevance was the willingness of people to share their location with their bank or credit card company.

The relevance for New Zealand of course is that 4 Canadian people have just been arrested for putting skimmers (devices that copy the information from the magnetic stripe on your credit or EFTPOS card) and subsequently allowing people to draw money from at least 60 people’s accounts over Easter 2012 from ATM machines in Canada. The story says that these skimmers had apparently been installed in Parnell, Ponsonby, Orewa, Takapuna and Howick and allowed the theft of account information from at least 500 people.

If the banks embraced location based technology with Smartphones (before Google Wallet, Paypal or a telco takes over m-commerce) people who allow their banks to know where they are through their mobile could be protected. Effectively if the bank knows I am in New Zealand, then I am unlikely to be in a position to withdraw money from an ATM in Canada with my card.

Of course there is a lot more gold (pardon the pun) in location based intelligence for banks. Banks probably all have a GIS person on board who has the ability to prepare reports for Business Analysts to make decisions about where to put branches, based on where their customers live, work and play. However, the problem with GIS is that unless you have personal access to it in real time and can do modelling with ease (requiring software and skills) and without long delays or having to wait for someone else to run queries on what they think you asked for, it can easily end up in the too hard basket.

In today’s world where a large percentage of people do not carry cash, but want to borrow and spend money, finance houses and banks need tools like BIonaMAP to be able to understand what their customers are doing and where. Tools that are secure, but can be accessed via a web browser within the intranet can allow the modern banker to stay a step ahead of their competitors. If you can’t assume loyalty, you need to understand your clients and their needs and be ready to adapt quickly.

According to this 3 News Story today, Credit Card Fraud Proceeds Surpass the Drug Trade. That must be a good motivator for banks to start talking to location based service companies like GeoSmart.

According to this Australian story from Today Tonight, it takes just 60 seconds for someone to convert a retail EFTPOS terminal to steal information from all of the cards that are swiped through it and the customers would have no idea their identities had been stolen. What does this cost the industry and what stress does this cause to consumers? BAU Business As Usual can’t be the way forward for the finance industry. I’m sure we don’t want to go back to carrying cash. Would you be happy to let the banking system know where you are so that they can confirm that the person using your card is you?

April 10, 2012 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Mining, geosmart, GIS, location based services, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

Rocky Year Ahead for Tourism? 10 Ideas

This morning I noted a story in the NZ Herald by Owen Hembry saying that although tourist numbers to New Zealand were up 2.5% at 2.6 million people, the average spend from them was less. It’s a comprehensive story and I recommend clicking on the link above as it is of vital importance to the New Zealand tourist industry. It also reflects international conditions given that many markets are suffering severe economic conditions.

There are many positives to this though and the important thing is to focus on how to maximise the opportunity for our industry. The fact is that more people did come to NZ last year and they did spend $5.6 Billion here including airfares. Not to be sneezed at!

The consideration then is whether you are in the accomodation, attraction, hospitality or any other industry looking for tourism income, what are you going to do to get your share of the money. How are you going to get that extra table turn, higher occupancy rates, more throughput of your services. How are you going to increase the average spend at your property? What are you going to do differently?

We would like to help you with that from a location based services perspective an together with our partners there are many things we can do to help. You will find lots of ideas if you read through some of our past blogs, or you can come and talk to us about your unique business and needs. There are many things we can help with, location based mobile applications and games, cartography, Business Analytics (don’t forget domestic tourists and business travelers who are mostly FIT by nature) and that all business people are also consumers.

There are loads of ideas that you will find in our blogs past and future. If you scroll through the blog home page or search the categories you will find many more ideas. Here are 10 blogs which might give you some ideas. We understand your business and please don’t hesitate to talk to us about your specific environment.

We are a wholly New Zealand owned company offering these services for New Zealand AND Australia. We understand the local markets and care about them because our success comes from yours :

  1. Loyalty Cards and Gamification
  2. Socialisation Game Mechanics of Loyalty Cards
  3. GPS Car Navigation for Rugby Tourists
  4. Location and Shopping
  5. Consumers are checking in to retail stores
  6. Retailers are not flocking into LBS
  7. How to get listed on NZ Car Nav systems
  8. Franchise Territory Mapping
  9. Lost In a Box a successful location based marketing campaign
  10. What Tools do you need to build a location application?

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Business Intelligence, Business Tools, car navigation, cartography, location based services, Marketing, new zealand, Rugby World Cup, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment