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Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 10

Wow, where did the year go? This has been a huge year for GeoSmart and 10 looks to be equally exciting.  If you want to catch up with us, you have a few hours before we close for summer holidays. We re-open on 11 January.

The big one for the year just gone has to be AA Traffic. This was a long time in the planning and it has been very exciting for us to set up this real time traffic service covering all of New Zealand. Have you tried it yet? Check the Traffic web site before you go on holiday.  You will find that we have extended the free email and txt alerts until the end of January. You may have finished work, but accidents and other incidents don’t go on holiday. On the traffic page you will also find that we have Cook Straight Ferries as well as domestic and international airline departures and arrivals for Auckland and Christchurch airports.

If you set up a free account, you can have Roadwatch automatically open up to the area you live, work or play in so that you can see if there is anything you need to know about. Road works and ramp closures can be really frustrating, so this is a good place to keep an eye out for anything that might get in your way. They are time sensitive, so it is worth looking at before you get in the car, you can also click on Upcoming Events, to see if there is anything happening in the future that might make you want to change your plans.

If you haven’t already, you will see that our AA Maps website is continuously evolving with new features.  One of my favourites is the proximity feature. Pick an address or Point of Interest and you will see that you can now look for something within a 5km radius. For example if you were going to Rotorua for Christmas, you could look for  restaurants or bars within walking distance of your accommodation. You can also plan an entire itinerary, and drag and drop and drop the stops to help you fit more into your time while saving gas and carbon emissions. You can plan your trip, drag the route on the map to change the roads you will drive on and print it all out to take in the car. Of course you can view AA Traffic incidents and web cams on AA Maps as well, which again makes it a great site to check before you hop in your car.

We are thrilled to be able to give people who buy new Navman car navigation devices between December and January a free Lifetime License to AA Traffic. This is the ultimate way to get your traffic alerts. We are currently broadcasting in the greater Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch areas and more will be added in the new year. This totally changes the concept of GPS and car navigation. You can set it so that it only warns you if there is an incident on your route and gives you the option to accept an alternate route avoiding the incident. Who wants to spend their holiday stuck in their cars in a line behind an accident you could have avoided? You might have avoided buying nav because you know your way around, but you would never have known that the road was blocked ahead for the next 4 hours due to a serious accident. You will also love the ability to find your nearest petrol station, ATM, cafe etc, or perhaps a rest area, or a dump site for your campervan. And when the kids ask “Are we nearly there yet?” You can say, “we will be there in 17 minutes”:)

Of course we love our partners TomTom very much too. Their IQ Routes (which of course uses our road data)  has even surprised me on occasion in finding a new way to drive home, that I had never thought of. Other than AA Traffic, they share all the same excellent information that our other car navigation partners do.

We continue to add new data to our car nav solutions including 3D buildings, lane guidance and enhanced Points of Interest data. Car nav is a never ending part of our product development and we stay aware of all the new developments and features that our partners are planning so that we can offer the best possible data for New Zealand going forward. Of course our data collection and driving never end. The RAPIDcV continues to collect lots of valuable data and we have some exciting plans for enhancing this in the new year.

We have joined the adoption of social networking with a Facebook Fan Page where we are engaging with the public with competitions and discussion related to traffic issues. We also have a Twitter page, which we use in a similar way to share information and develop a community of people interested in supporting our efforts to share up to date information.

We have a number of new web mapping clients and several more that will go live early in the new year. For businesses who want quality map data, routing and access to our extensive Points of Interest database, our data is updated 11 times a year making sure that you can rely on our products. We feature some of those sites on our home page.

We launched the new Route2GO web service, which was a long time coming. We have so many companies who have been waiting for this and are very exciting to see new 3rd party solutions being developed that will help businesses with route optimisation as well as calculation of fair pricing for freight and travel costs. Whether it is a large transport company, a taxi service or a furniture shop with a single van, we now have a solution that will make life easy for you. We are working with and seeking new partners who would like to integrate these tools into their solutions for their clients as our model is to work with partners, not to compete with our clients in developing end user products.

There have been exciting developments in Fleet Management and we have had many new companies join us this year for everything from vehicle tracking to Road User Charges, with a number starting to adopt the concept of digital hubometers. RUC is here to stay and with over 80% of Fleet Management companies using our data, it would be fair to say that it is the standard.

We are working on many off shore projects and you will hear our name much more often outside of New Zealand, mostly with partners. A major part of our IP is the knowledge of how to build quality map datasets and then provide web services and API’s around this data.

We ran the Location Innovation Awards and in May we sent the lucky winner to the USA to attend the Where 2.0 Conference. We are going to run the 2010 Location Innovation Awards and have already had some exciting offers of sponsorship in prizes and technical support. We are changing the timing  this year to make it easy for our university partners to fit the Awards into their calendar, as we were very excited about the work that many students, especially at Massey University prepared. New Zealand has a huge amount of untapped talent and we look forward to helping the legends of the future make themselves known. Location Based Services are going to hit their straps in the next couple of years and you will see the GeoSmart name a lot in this context.

If you haven’t seen them, we now have regular e-newsletters. We used to print them, but print means cutting down trees and isn’t as multidimensional. You can find them here and also subscribe if you would like them in your inbox.

If you are still with me, thanks for reading this blog. There was much more activity that I could tell you about, but it’s time to take a deep breath and recharge, ready for the most exciting year yet in 10. I hope that you will be a part of that with us as I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and warm happy holidays. Thanks to everyone at GeoSmart and our many partners for helping to make this year the success it has been. We look forward to catching up with you soon.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free V, Free Ice Creams, Free Entertainment and Location Innovation Awards

So I’ve been thinking some more about entries that people could come up with for the Awards. It’s summer Downunder and that raises some interesting ideas for LBS applications for the Awards.

In summer we have lots of events such as beach parties and concerts in parks sponsored by various organisations and often in conjunction with radio stations. Often as part of these events, ice cream and energy drink brands get together and offer opportunities to win free product and other goodies by getting to the right place at the right time.

This might be a game or a treasure hunt or it maybe simply a matter of telling people that there is a free concert on in a particular park or beach, or that the Outside Broadcast Radio Vehicle will be at a certain spot at a certain time and if you are one of the first (x number of) people to get there you will get some free product.

LBS is a great way to get people to head for those locations. Here are a few examples:

  • Text a message to a short code with your current location (street address) and get the time and location of today’s beach party or concert, complete with personalised turn by turn directions on how to get there.
  • Text a message to a short code with your current location (street address) and get your first, or next clue to get you closer to your prize.
  • Text the name of your town to a short code  to get information about the next event date and time.
  • Receive a message that you can forward to your friends who you want to join you at the party or concert so they can also get their own driving directions.
  • As above but with electronic coupons so that the first (x number of) people with the coupons get the prizes or free product. Only people who receive the electronic coupon qualify for the prize, which means people who send invites will want others to send one to them, which creates a viral marketing process.

Another concept could be a solution for free product for people driving on a holiday trip. This could be along similar lines, but promoting a different service. For example:

  • In recent years the narrow Kopu Bridge leading into the Coromandels is a major bottleneck, sometimes with delays of an hour or sometimes much longer. On a number of occassions I’ve seen one of the distinctive V cars on the side of the road giving away cold cans of their popular energy drink to frustrated drivers sitting in a long line of traffic on a steaming hot summers day. If they are going to do that, they could come up with some sort of LBS traffic report telling people where the traffic jams are and where to find themselves a bottle of V to cool down with. Of course this would also be a great concept for brands like TipTop Ice Cream who frequent run summer competitions.

These are just a couple of ideas where popular brands can have some summer fun with LBS and Viral Marketing to promote their brands, show some technology leadership and appeal to the tech savvy Generation Y people and build some product loyalty.Maybe you could come up with an idea, win one of our awards and then sell the concept to them.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | awards, competition, competitions, driving directions, geosmart, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, new zealand, proximity based marketing, real time traffic, social networking, Uncategorized, viral marketing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment