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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.

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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

Sometimes Size Matters

TomTom Via 620

TomTom have just launched a new 6″ car navigation unit packed with features and a big, high-resolution display that will become a must for truck drivers, people with big hands, or whose eyesight means that a the new big clear display will allow them to relax a bit more when they are driving.

It also comes with 12 quarterly GeoSmart map updates and a free map of Australia. Find out more about it on our Facebook page.

TomTom also came up with some interesting research that whilst most Kiwi’s dream of having a tropical island holiday, nearly half of Kiwis (48%) prefer to have their holiday in New Zealand, followed by Australia (21%). The Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Auckland being the hotspot destinations.

Here come the surprises from TomTom Public Relations Manager Asia-Pacific, Valerie Cross from an international survey:

  • New Zealander’s appear to be the least nature-loving holiday-makers in the world with the smallest amount (14%) of respondents saying they go on holiday to commune with nature.
  • A Kiwi’s favourite part of the holiday appears to be shopping with 66% of respondents keen to browse the shops, over options like visiting beaches (58%) and restaurants (54%).
  • New Zealanders are also some of the easily frustrated when they get lost (22%), nearly twice the global average (13%) and only a close second to our Aussie neighbours (24%).

Ms Cross knocked the hammer squarely on the head, (especially for the Kiwi male) noting “It’s a real Kiwi trait not to ask for help when travelling by car.

Of course our GeoSmart maps road data and Points of Interest are continually being updated with everything from beaches and bays, parking and rest areas, public toilets and ATM’s through to every kind of shop, attraction, place to stay and much more. Your nav really is your travel partner, calmly guiding you to your destination so that you can relax and enjoy your stress free trip.

 

July 4, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia Maps, car navigation, driving directions, geosmart, gps, new zealand maps, tomtom, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from the road about location based services

Lessons from the road about location based services

Having just returned from a 3 week USA FIT road trip, GeoSmart Sales & Marketing Manager blogs about the strengths and weaknesses of location based applications and web sites and the opportunities for developers to use technology such as that provided by GeoSmart, to develop solutions that work for both the traveller and the businesses looking to offer their goods and services to them.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Are You? Mobile Apps For Finding Family and People at Risk

For a long time we have been encouraging our business partners to look at developing applications and devices to track elderly people, people with memory impaired conditions such as dementia, blind, autistic and others. There have been many challenges in this area because these devices are often a little on the bulky side and need daily charging due to the power constraints of batteries used for communications and GPS. Designing devices that are appealing such as bracelets, necklaces that people are prepared to wear has been a challenge. That development goes on and we hope that in the next year or so, we will see some success and demand from the market.

There is of course another huge market segment where mobiles are used. We are starting to see a number of applications like Pingbot, which we mentioned on our Facebook Page. This uses location based services including GPS to identify the location of a person’s mobile, with their permission of course. Effectively with Pingbot, the owner of the mobile has a secret word, effectively like a password that the user can share with those trusted people who may need to be able to find them. Obvious users would be children (most teenage children would not go anywhere without a mobile today), people with some form of disability, injury or medical risk, such as allergies or requiring medication, they may have forgotten to take with them. It could also be a social, sport or other reason for people to be able to find each other, such as a buddy finder environment. The idea of Pingbot is that all you need to do is send an SMS message with the secret word in order to find the location of that person.

GeoSmart has the web services and API’s to help developers create these types of solution in New Zealand and Australia. This includes highly accurate mapping, accurate turn by turn directions via the fastest route and services such as Reverse GeoCoding, which allows you to send a set of coordinates to our servers, which will return the nearest street address to that location.

These sorts of applications were difficult to market in the past because most people didn’t have mobiles with GPS. Today is a different story. It’s almost difficult to find a mobile in a retail store today that does not have GPS. We’d like to hear from developers who would like to help find that child that didn’t get home, the diabetic who went out without their insulin, or the blind person who has become disoriented. We offer a Developer Agreement for free and are local, in your time zone, with real people you can talk to about your application development.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, geosmart, gps, location based services, Mapping Applications, new zealand maps, Reverse Geocoding, 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

Giving Location Based Business Intelligence to Middle Management

In the traditional corporate environment location based information about your business tends to come from the IT or GIS department. This tends to result in traditional reports based on historic requirements. They tend to be standard reports that you receive in the same way as you receive your financial reports. In New Zealand only large corporates even have access to GIS data. BAU (Business As Usual) means results as usual at best, but if someone else is working smarter, that means that they are likely to be taking business off yours.

Our BIonaMAP application changes that. There is no installation required and it is now simple for a Sales Manager, Service Manager, Product Manager, Marketing Manager and others to have access to what is going on in their business in ways they haven’t been able to before.

One of the most basic areas I have found in previous lives as a Sales Manager and as a Franchisor has been creating fair territories on a map. This traditionally involved buying a map, using a sharpie pen to create a territory and covering it in different colours of map pins. Of course as soon as you created a territory and needed to change it, it was start again and of course now your office wall is covered in holes. Now it is as simple as clicking with your mouse and your new territory has been created. Zoom in on the map to tidy it up so that you can split streets up to left and right if necessary and now you can start viewing what is going on in your business.

Understanding what is happening in a territory

Any information you have about your customers in a CRM, accounting software that you can export can now be viewed on the map and you can run queries about that data and view the results straight away on the map. Examples might be profitable customers, customers who haven’t bought anything in the last month, customers who buy one product but not another, prospects who use a competitors product. You can count results and compare territories with each other with ease. Why is one territory better than another?

I wish I had browser based software like this in the past, it is just so powerful and easy. What information would you like to unlock from your business? Find out more at www.bionamap.co.nz

April 22, 2012 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, GIS, new zealand maps, Sales, sales territory, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maps Are Not All Equal

There are reasons why smart car navigation companies use GeoSmart data on their devices. The reasons are that often near enough is not good enough. This week we have seen a good example of this, which was followed up in the news media.

On Wednesday the Otago Daily Times published a story with the headline GPS systems send Peninsula tourists off track. It quoted a Senior Constable who said that tourists were being guided onto paper roads and dirt tracks by car navigation systems and certainly into areas not suitable for most vehicles.

An example given was that people were trying to drive all the way to the seal colony shown on the map here, via Cape Saunders Rd. As you can see on our map, that isn’t possible, but there appears to be a paper road on some car nav products (obviously not using GeoSmart Maps) that say you can.

Because we are the premier supplier of quality car navigation map data for New Zealand, the obvious query came to GeoSmart for some clarification on this. We are the market leader in car navigation in New Zealand because of the quality of data. We have quality data because we are local and because we have invested heavily for over 12 years in having quality data for car navigation. We have a map room full of people who are committed to having up to date information on our maps including eliminating paper roads, maintaining speed zones, current information on Points of Interest, turn restrictions such as 1-way streets, no left turns, median barriers and also what we know as implicit turn restrictions, which is where a large vehicle may not be able to safely complete a turn even if it is legal to do so. As a consequence, brands like TomTom and Navman use our information in order to ensure that their valued users do get quality instructions.

I received a call from the journalist who wrote a follow up story for the NZ Herald with the headline Don’t just go where the GPS says – if it looks like a paddock it probably is one. I explained that when we first decided to become a car navigation map provider, partnering with brands such as Navman, Siemens VDO and BMW, we processed the Government data (which was never designed for guidance) and found that it was not suitable for car navigation. There were huge numbers of paper roads (roads that have been drafted but not (yet) constructed and situations where entire settlements were 60-80 or more metres away from where the maps said they were.

We then set out to drive every public road in New Zealand, getting accurate data with the technology of the day, eliminating the paper roads and at the same time getting key information such as speed zones, road class, points of interest including things like rest areas, ATM’s, public toilets as well as business, tourism and travel, hospitality, sport etc. Today we continue to drive, capturing a road centreline at sub 1 meter accuracy as well as information such as the incline of the road for eco-routing and the angle of the camber on corners for future truck safety systems and of course real time traffic which can be found online at AA Maps, AA Roadwatch and AA Journey Times and is of course used by TomTom and Navman.

A key issue that we have identified in recent times is that a lot of car navigation users don’t realise that they need to update their maps regularly. In New Zealand roads are changing continually. They are road realignments, new motorways, new subdivisions, suburbs and settlements being built all the time. Roundabouts get replaced with traffic lights and traffic lights get replaced with roundabouts and it never ends. GeoSmart does a new update each and every quarter, 4 times a year and they are all significant updates. Just because you have a navigation unit that is only 6 months old, doesn’t mean that it has the latest data. Even if you have just bought a unit brand new, it is worth plugging it in to your computer to see if there is a new map available.

The acid test is www.aamaps.co.nz. This also gets updated every 3 months. If a road or segment is on AA Maps, then it is in our data and will either be in the latest car nav map for the brands that use our data, or is about to be. If it isn’t on AA Maps, then we are probably adding it, but we would love to hear from you just in case. All you need to do is click on the feedback button on the AA Maps web page, select the type of feedback you want to give us and the information will go to the appropriate team member. We are Kiwis, we live here and we take pride in the quality of our data and want you to enjoy your motoring.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | AA Maps, AA Traffic, car navigation, driving directions, geosmart, gps, navman, new zealand maps, satnav, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized, Web Map | , , , , , , , , , , | 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