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Smartphone Shoppers and Mobile Apps

There was an interesting article in the NZ Herald by Gill South and David Thomas this morning entitled ‘Get The Answers: Businesses can get on board with smartphone shoppers‘. It referenced the annual Mobile Life Study and quotes that this year 33% of Kiwis own smartphones, up from 24% last year, which is a massive increase in the region of 50%, but this year I think the growth will be much higher again.

The article talked about Location Based Services and mCommerce, both topics we frequently discuss and get involved with. It said that New Zealand already use advanced LBS services well ahead of most consumers around the world. This begs the question, what are you doing about it?

If you are in business in New Zealand (or Australia) I recommend you have a look through some of our blogs here about topics such as Proximity Based Marketing, Business intelligence and social networking as a starter, and then contact us. We have a wealth of experience in this area,all the underlying data you need and lots of business partners that can help you. We live and breath location, its who we are. We are local, in your time zone and have the best and most comprehensive data including maps, Points of Interest, routing, real time traffic and of course the important BIonaMAP which is now available and able to assist you in better understanding who your market is and where they live and play.

Location is the next big wave and we have invested in understanding it thoroughly.

 

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April 29, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, geosmart, lbs, location based services, proximity based marketing, social networking | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are presenting on Location and Collaboration at Auckland ICT 25 November, come join us

Luigi Cappel  from GeoSmart will be presenting a paper on ‘A case study on building business through cooperation – even among fierce rivals’ at 5PM on Friday 25 November at Massey University. This is an Auckland ICT Cluster event which is open to all comers. You can find details here.

The ICT world is changing rapidly. From or perspective of course Location Based Services is the key. Everything these days is about location. Our mobiles know where we are as do many other devices. Location impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives. It impacts on our activities, our associations, social networking, marketing, business intelligence and this opens so many opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

Collaboration is the key focus of our presentation and the goal of the presentation is to facilitate activity amongst the attendees through breakout groups with a view to making some new business opportunities happen. So many of us have pieces of the puzzle and when we combine them we can create new products, solutions and business opportunities.

The presentation will discuss new business models of collaboration and coopetition and include case studies where GeoSmart has successfully partnered with companies in NZ and overseas to mutual benefit.

Attendees are encouraged to think about their capabilities and interests before the evening and add to a seek and offer sheet so they can have an idea before the event who will be attending and where potential collaboration opportunities are, so they can make the most of the ‘collaboration speed dating’ component and generate some positive outcomes after the meeting.

This is an interesting and exciting opportunity to network and participate and perhaps turn some great ideas into reality. I hope to see you there.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Auckland, education, geosmart, GIS, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Meetups, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, software, systems integrator, Uncategorized, universityschool | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Networking and LBS

So what does social networking have to do with LBS. Right now, perhaps not a great deal, but very soon, it could have a great deal to do with mobile. Social networking is a massive growth segment of the Internet. There are some interesting things happening in this area. One is that Social Networking, which began largely as an online way of connecting to people in more meaningful ways, not only people you know, but also people with whom you have business or personal interests in common.

There has been an interesting evolution in Social Networking recently. The first is that it has gone mobile in a big way. I have been talking with Telcos from UK, Europe, the USA and New Zealand over the last couple of months about LBS and Social Networking. All of them have confirmed that close to and in many cases more than 50% of all mobile data traffic today is taken up by social networking. They didn’t plan for this, they didn’t market or advertise it, they didn’t expect it. Consumers just made it happen and in many cases, developers created mobile phone applications that can be installed as a simple download allowing people to use elements of applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Hyves and many others on their phone including the ability to upload photos and post them on your social networking site, as well as connecting to the phone to ring them, from within the mobile.

In one of my personal blogs, I have written about Social Networking including the first in a series on the use of Twitter for Business. One of the changes that is happening is that the social networks which were largely around connecting to people via the internet, but now there are all sorts of real face to face connections being made. Groups are using social networking to meet their ‘friends’ in the real world. For example, we are members of the Wireless & Broadband Forum. The forum has recently started to use Facebook to invite people to attend their events such as Wireless Wednesday, which was where we held the Prize Giving for the 2009 Location Innovation Awards. I also belong to a number of other business groups which use Social Networking to organise get togethers or ‘meetups’.

Given the interesting change that social networking is evolving from an environment where people find each other and commuicate on the Internet, to actually meeting each other in the real world, LBS offers a great opportunity to enhance that by facilitating finding each other, getting driving directions from where you are to the meeting place. GeoSmart of course has many tools to facilitate this in the mobile environment, such as identifying where you are and providing Driving Directions to the meet location. Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding can identify where you are now and the location of your destination. The Point of Interest Web Service V2 can identify a street address, but also contains a huge database of POI including cafes, restaurants, accomodation and lots of other business data as well as petrol stations, ATM’s, Public Toilets and even boat ramps if you are going to meet on the water.

A lot of mobiles now have GPS built in and for those that don’t, the ability to identify the nearest cell site(s) is another way to get at least an estimate of the location of the user.

Of course another very important component is maps. You can find out more about why our maps are the best in New Zealand for LBS here.

If you are using social networking on your mobile, Location is one of the most relevent components and you will find more information about this in coming blogs, so why not subscribe with your favourite RSS reader, so that you don’t miss anything.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | driving directions, facebook, geosmart, GIS, gps, Hyves, lbs, location based services, location innovation awards, map tools, maps, Marketing, Meetups, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, satnav, social networking, Twitter, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Tools Do You Need to Develop an LBS Application Part 3

Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding are key components for many LBS Applications.

Geocoding is the process of generating a set of co-ordinates, which are subsequently used to display a location on a map. If you have a huge database of addresses, we typically do this as a batch process and have tools designed to try to compensate for poorly laid out databases, or errors such as mispelling, wrong suburb or when people like Real Estate Agents make up their own to make a location sound more attractive. A common one for example is Whangarei Surrounds. There is a place called Whangarei, but not Whangarei surrounds. Computers being fairly literal, if you try to search for a place that doesn’t exist in the database, you have to get creative.

Services like the POI Webservice V2, whichwas mentioned in the previous blog, are designed to help you with this requirement. How you do this depends on the type of application you are developing. For example:

  • If you are using an SMS service, you would have to have a very good address, if you want to get a good result. If the address doesn’t exist in our database, we can return a set of co-ordinates that are next best, for example if we don’t have the exact street address, we can return the middle of the street. One common issue in New Zealand which dates back to the days when we had lots of councils who didn’t consult with each other on street name allocation. As a consequence of this there are many duplicates. For example there are 23 different Queen Streets in Greater Auckland.
  • An autocompleter is a great way of getting to the correct address first time. You can see a nice example of this on AA Maps, where a new request is made of the POI Web Service every time a new character is entered, if the right result comes up at that point, you can click on it and then perform the action desired, such as viewing it on a map. This can function easily in a PC browser and can work fine in many mobile browsers. The main difference in a mobile would be that you reduce the number of results displayed in a list to make it user friendly on the smaller display.

For developers, there is much more detailed information in the Developer Section of our web site, including code examples. We support a wide range of results from text to javascript and html.

Reverse Geocoding is a powerful tool for mobile devices. What this does is using the co-ordinates derived from the mobile phone, we can display the users current location on a map. What we can then do is provide information about Points of Interest close to the user.

The first thing we can offer is the nearest street address. This can be used in various solutions such as

  • Buddy Finder
  • Locating children or elderly people, to ensure they are where they are supposed to be. This can include things like geo-fencing (which will be explained in a future blog).  The concept for children or elderly people might be to make sure they are at school, or perhaps close to the home or retirement village. It is very common for elderly people with Alzheimers or other conditions to wander off and then lose track of where they are or how to get back. Reverse Geocoding could enable authorised people to find out where they are if they have gone missing. Geo-fencing allows you to create a ring or polygon around the area they should be at, for example the gardens and surrounds of a rest home, but set of an alarm within a system if people leave that area, or go within a predefined distance of that area.
  • Locating people for health purposes. For example a system in Europe was designed to locate people such as diabetics who are away from their home and don’t have their insulin with them. Reverse geocoding could locate exactly where they are, while a proximity tool could identify the nearest Pharmacy which could prepare are dose and put it on a taxi to the patient’s location, even if they are disoriented and not sure where they are themselves.

This leads on to another benefit of reverse geocding in mobile applications. One of the most common services being developed for mobile applications is the ability to find Points of Interest nearby the location of the person’s mobile, without them having to be able to identify their location. This would then utilise either a proprietary database, or the GeoSmart subscription POI database which was mentioned in our previous blog. We have an extensive database covering most locations you might want to find when you are out and about. It could be (follow the links for examples on AA Maps web site) a motelBP petrol station, a public toilet, a National Bank ATM, a pharmacy, cafe or pretty much anything. This makes it really for people to find anything they need within proximity of their location, without having to kow where they are.

Proximity Based Marketing will be a huge growth area for LBS which is enabled by these tools as is Location Based Social Networking.

Of course if you now have the co-ordinates of where you are and the co-ordinates of the location you want to go to, you can now offer turn by turn directions to that location n the mobile. This will be the topic of our next blog, so if you are interested in this subject, please bookmark this blog, or add it to your RSS aggregator such as iGoogle.

Geocoding and reverse geocoding a critical tools for mobile LBS applications.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | AA Maps, driving directions, geosmart, GIS, gps, lbs, location based services, maps, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, satnav, social networking, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Location Based Services and Agencies

Now that the Awards are over, at least for a few months,  I’m hoping to have a little more time for blogging.

I have been talking to a number of agencies over the last 3-4 years about LBS. I don’t know whether it was me or that the bright lights in this agency space seem to all go offshore, often within the same company before we get to do anything together. Companies like The Hyperfactory have been doing some cool things on the edge of LBS, but it seems that all their cool stories these days are also overseas. It was great to see them enter the awards this year, though and they have a Finalist Award to add to their trophy room which must be bursting at the seams.

The types of LBS applications are very wide and we could have had many more categories in the awards. The thing is that location is simply what it sounds like. It is about where you are and what you are doing wherever you are. It could be about having a pizza delivered to you on the beach, or about catching the bus to Get Somewhere. It could be about going on a treasure hunt or finding a bar or cafe nearby afterwards. Location is ubiquitous, just as your mobile phone is. You are always somewhere. If your phone knows where you are, then it can help you find things, places and people. It can help you be entertained, help you with your sport or hobby, provide you with localised information, the list is infinite.

So back to Agencies. LBS adds another vehicle to incorporate into Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. It gives them the opportunity to come up with fun and compelling ways for brands to interact with consumers and other customers at the time and place that has the most relevance. Traditional forms of advertising are very often scattergun and rely on high levels of repetition to realise a call to action. Traditional Direct Marketing (DM) considers 5-7% response to be a good result. In my book that says that over 90% of the DM spend is wasted. Why is that? Because most people are not open to buy or looking for their products at the time they are ‘exposed’ to the promotion. In addition to that, most people are smart enough to look for what they want, when they want it. They will then either check out their favourite stores or use Google to find the products they want.

The other huge resource that people use is Word of Mouth Marketing, which these days means talking to people close to them, or just as likely today, to use Social Networking sites to ask the opinion of their ‘friends’.

So what can agencies do? They can come up with campaigns or solutions that are relevant to people’s interests at the time and place that is relevant to them. The time and place to tell someone about the great new winter fashion that is in their favourite clothing store, is when they are entering the mall. The time to tell people about the new Stephen King book is when they are near the bookshop.I’m going to talk a lot more about these concepts in the coming days and weeks, so why not subscribe to this blog with your favourite RSS aggregation app  like iGoogle.Just to put things straight, LBS is not something that will replace other forms of marketing, it will augment the campaigns, reinforcing the messages and making them relevant and encourage an immediate call to action. It is an enabler and a tool that will help brands fine tune their target marketing and improve its effectiveness.

I will also explain in future blogs how the tools and data that GeoSmart Maps has, can facilitate the creation of the applications or features of LBS from a laymans persepctive. I’m not a developer, but what I do understand very well is what each tool does and how it can be implemented to achieve the results you want. So if you want to know more, watch this space, bookmark it or get yourself an RSS Reader.

Also, do feel free to comment or ask questions.

A PAcked Room of LBS Enthusiasts at the Location Innovation Awards

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Agencies, awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, Marketing, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, viral marketing, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Location Innovation Awards Prize Giving

It’s almost over for the first year, the judges are deliberating and we are preparing the Prize Giving Event.

The GeoSmart Event will be held in conjunction with the Wireless & Broadband Forum’s Wireless Wednesday on 18th March. For more information have a look at the competition web site.

The quality of entries has been superb and the judges have been very impressed with the ideas that have come through in all of the four categories. Student entries have also been very good.

Come to the Awards night on the 18th and find out what LBS is all about. Find out how you can participate. Many applications are opportunities for web developers, telecommunications providers, media and advertising companies, brands, tourism, sport, entertainment, the list goes on.

All four categories; Proximity Based Marketing, Location Based Social Networking, Location Based Games and Widgets for AA Maps have been well covered.

The sponsors should be well pleased with the results and will be looking for ways to get involved in this disruptive technology that is going to change many of the ways we do business and interact with each other.  We owe special thanks to Sony Ericsson, MyMobile Magazine, Tomizone, Vodafone, Geekzone, TomTom, the Wireless and Broadband Forum, AA Tourism and Massey University for their support.

Given the success of this event, we have already started planning for the 2010 Location Innovation Awards, so if you wanted to get involved but left it too late, next year’s competition will be even bigger and better.

We hope to see you at the Awards Night, do make sure you RSVP as we don’t want to be turning you away at the door! Details are on the competition web site if we haven’t already sent you an invitation.

locationinnovation1

March 5, 2009 Posted by | AA Maps, awards, car navigation, competition, competitions, education, geosmart, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, satnav, school, social networking, tomtom, Uncategorized, university, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deadline Extended for the Location Innovation Awards

A number of people have told me that they have not quite completed their entries into the Location Innovation Awards. We want as many entries as possible so we have decided to extend the deadline to Monday 23 February at 5P.M. so if you left it to the last minute and still want a chance at some of those great prizes, get stuck in this week and over the weekend and you still have a great chance to be recognised.

If you haven’t seen them, we have a number of blogs full of ideas including LBS Games, Social Communities, Friend or Buddy Finders, Proximity Based Marketing, and Marketing campaigns for products such as V or ice cream, or summer concerts in parks in conjunction with radio stations.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to help shape the future and know that you played a part in the way technology has been used?

February 17, 2009 Posted by | awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, proximity based marketing, social networking, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Listen to Echoes from Woices – Ideas for the Location Innovation Awards

Have you registered for the Location Innovation Awards? It’s not too late.  The Location Innovati0n Awards don’t close until February 16.

Recently I came across a site that shows potential, but they are not yet using GPS or mobile. Nevertheless, their concept is very good. In simple terms Woices allows you to record comments on the net about places that you have been to, called ‘Echoes’. Using reverse geocoding you can tag the location to  a map so that people can go to a map and see the locations that have ‘Echoes’ and then listen to them.

From a Location Innovation Awards perspective, this would be a great concept to make mobile. Whether it’s through GPS or triangulation, it would be a simple thing to create an application that takes advantage of the mobile knowing it’s position, recording a voice message and a photo and then uplocaing it to a website.

The concept of a social community sharing information is becoming commonplace, but most of these applications are web based. This is fine when you are planning a trip, but could be much better if it was made more mobile.

When I travel overseas and am looking for accomodation or activities, I check them out on Travelocity. The reason I do this is because the public can upload comments. Last year I had a short holiday in jamaica and found this system very helpful. For example the first resort I looked up in Montego Bay looked great on the hotel’s website, but the comments said things like, “If you are single and want to party 24 hours a day, this place was made for you. Don’t bring your kids. ” Using people’s comments I found the perfect resort and it was exactly what the comments said it would be and I was very happy with my selection.

Mobility means you can do much more. For example let’s say you are in Rotorua and looking for somewhere to have a brunch. Using your mobile you could search for cafe’s or restaurants within a kilometer of where you are and listen to the ‘Echoes’ other people had left. For example “great food but it took an hour to get it to the table’.

From a tourism perspective, sharing information that you can access from your phone could be great. I was talking to someone recently who went on a motorhome tour of New Zealand and they told me that some of the best places they stopped for the night weren’t marked on any maps, they found out about them from other motorhomers who told them where to find spots where they could park by the water and enjoy wonderful sunsets. A GPS mobile application could allow you to locate all sorts of interesting places based on the recommendations of others.

Voice messages like this can be in multiple languages and would allow you to enjoy high tech results without requiring you to have computing skills  or sophisticated technology. In addition to info from fellow travellers, this is also a great opportunity for locals to share information with travellers about local history, amenities and attractions and people have already started doing this on Woices.

A concept like this in a mobile environment would fit into several categories of the Location Innovation Awards, including the best Tourism Application and the AA Maps Widgets which could earn you a luxury adventure in a Maui Camper.

December 7, 2008 Posted by | AA Maps, awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, gps, lbs, location innovation awards, maps, new zealand, satnav, social networking, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entries are racing in for the Location Innovation Awards

The Awards haven’t been running for 2 weeks yet and already 16 people have entered, which is wonderful. There are 3 student entries so far and the entries range from Auckland to Wellington, so no sign of anything from the South Island as yet. We did have someone wanting to enter from the USA but unfortunately they are not Kiwi’s and have never been to New Zealand.

Also interesting that entries seem to be fairly equal amongst the 4 categories of Social Networking, LBS Games, Proximity Based Marketing and Widgets for the AA Maps web site.

Hopefully we will see many more entries over coming days.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | competitions, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, web maps | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment