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What does LBS have to do with advertising media?

The world of information technology and communications (ITC) is changing at a rapid pace and some of the changes have been subtle and unexpected. Some things take a long time for people to get their heads around, but sometimes they just start doing things and take them for granted. Social networking is a classic example that businesses are now trying to understand how they can get involved.

Technology is changing the way we live, the way we interact with each other and the way we interact with the businesses and services we enjoy.

Last week there was a news story, saying that TVNZ is planning to lay off 90 staff, as it moves to save $25 million. In it,  Chief Executive Rick Ellis was quted as saying that the layoffs represent approximately 25% of the costs reductions needed due to falling advertising revenue. I don’t recall who it was but someone recently was telling me that they never watch TV advertising but one evening he and his wife decided that the would watch the TVC’s. The next morning he asked his wife what brands were represented in the TVC’s they watched the previous night, she couldn’t name one.

People can avoid TV commercials by recording their programs with MySky and now of course Tivo has also launched in New Zealand. I don’t know if it works in New Zealand, but in the US I believe that you can program your Tivo to not even record advertisements at all as there is an encoded message that tells it when advertising starts and ends.

Around the world there are newspapers closing down, going out of business because not enough people are buyig them any more, which means they can’t sell enough advertising to keep them going and people are choosing other media such as the Internet to find their news.

Huge numbers of people are favouring their iPods and other MP3 players instead of listening to the radio. People are buying less music CD’s because they have access to other media such as iTunes, YouTube and MySpace to mention a few legal ways they can access their entertainment.

Then of course there is mobile and virtually everyone has a mobile phone and sometimes two.  The days that your phone was only for voice and SMS are long gone. Today on our mobiles we can check email, take photos and post them onto websites such as Facebook, read or watch the news, Instant Message, check our social networking applications and more.

Then there is the location component. A couple of weeks ago I was able to show my location using Google Lattitude on my mobile to my friends. I was able to monitor my pace and calorie burn on Allsport GPS and post photos that I took on my phone straight to my Facebook page while I was running.

So back to the original topic, what does all that have to do with advertising media. Simple really. If your phone knows where you are and you opt in to services that tell you about things you want to know about, relative to where you are and when you are there, you can be offered all sorts of relevant goods and services that you will want to know about and take advantage of.

This afternoon I was talking to a partner about their participation in a 100km bike race. The bike race would have been sponsored by industry leaders including bike manufacturers, sports drink and supplement brands and other partners. The event and the activity in general takes place on the road, so is very location oriented. If you register for the event, a brand would be very keen to make offers to you. Because you are in the event, they can market very specifically and know that their likely response rate is going to be very high. A LBS application could involve maps and directions, but also relevant Points of Interest. Prior to and after the event they could include where to buy a new bike or bike accessories, or where to get a pre-race service or gear check.

It could include where to stay, where to get healthy food, where to train, where to buy your drinks and supplements, a message as you come near a cycle clothing shop of promotional deals, with an electronic coupon displayed on your mobile phone. It could show you where you can get refreshments on the way or even where to find a public toilet. It can show you where the start points are and a route for the supporters to be able to go from point to point without running into the cyclists. It could help companies or supporters get to a cyclist who has gear damage. Prior to or after the event it could even provide a social network to help you find training partners in different parts of the country, for example if you are away on a business trip and have your bike with you. Sponsorship, brand association can be tied to actual sales promotions, which are triggered by people who have opted in to a service who are close to the store or place where a service is available.

These sorts of service would be opt-in, which means that people sign up to a service and specify when and under what conditions they may be contacted on their mobile. Because the service offers benefits to the user and the user is specifically interested in the sport and active at the time, there is a far greater likely response rate than traditional scattergun media advertising which is traditonally very costly.

GeoSmart of course is able to display maps, provide turn by turn driving directions from anywhere to anywhere in New Zealand. It has a Points of Interest Web Service which can help geocode and display relevant locations like shops, cafes, public toilets etc and the Proximity Tool can assist in identifying relationships between POI which could for example be an alert when a cycle rider is within a kilometer of a bike shop using GPS or other tools to identify the location of the cyclist. This could be combined with a social network, registration for an event, an interest group or perhaps an exclusive service for an event, or the customers of a particular brand, for example you can use this service for free, but only after purchasing an Avanti bike.

If you are interested in concepts like this, please subscribe to this blog, and feel free to leave comments or questions. if you want to talk to someone about any of these ideas, please email info@geosmart.co.nz.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Agencies, awards, cartography, driving, driving directions, geosmart, gps, lbs, location innovation awards, maps, Marketing, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Sales, satnav, social networking, Uncategorized, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Location Innovation and Navball

How do you combine LBS technology with GPS and mobile phones with a gaming environment that is fun, educational and gives you plenty of exercise? That’s one of the questions we have for Kiwis who enter the GeoSmart Location Innovation Awards.

29 people have entered the awards so far and we know of several more people who are working on projects. A lot of interest has come from universities and we all know that university students love coming up with ideas for fun things to do. The Auckland City Flashmob Group already has 487 members who have signed up through their Facebook page.

In this blog I am going to give you some examples of applications that might gove you ideas on applications to create yourselves. One that I really like as a concept is Navball which comes from Amsterdam. The Netherlands are of course a nation of football fans and it makes a lot of sense to combine their love of the round ball game with GPS and LBS technology to come up with something that is fun, fast, competitive and very Generation Y.

The concept is that you have two teams of 11 players, just like you would in a game of soccer and they compete to kick a virtual ball into a virtual goal. The playground is a set of predefined streets, unknown to the players before they hit the field. The players off course have soccer strips so that they are recognisable from the general public and won’t cause concern for pedestrians as they go about their business.

Each player is equipped with a Nokia N95 which is GPS enabled. The players are shown where the ‘ball’ is and the location of the first ‘goal’. They have to form a line in the shape of an arrow in order to be able to identify the direction the ball will be kicked. The game lasts for 45 minutes and the winner is obviously the team which has achieved the most goals.

The play can be followed on a Google Maps mashup which allows viewers to monitor a scoreboard and see the locations of each of the 22 players as they make their way around the course, which is the streets of Amsterdam.

Here is a promotional video of the game being played in Amsterdam.

Navball is the brainchild of The Saints mobile software, one of many innovative Dutch developers. Another application they have launched which would be great fun for both tourists and locals is Get Lost in Rotterdam. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt, except that it is simply about finding new places and having fun. It is designed such that it could be played in any city in the world.

You send a free txt message to a short code and can then download the application which has 15 consecutive instructions. I watched a video demonstration on the website, which went like this:

1. Get on the tram heading for the city centre and get off at the 5th stop.

2. Take the first Metro (subway) entrance and go one stop.

3. Follow the first dog you see for (x) time and then turn left

4. Catch the first available bus. etc

There are lots of prizes for people who send in photos from their journey and the game will run on many different brands and models of phone that have Java capability.

These games are entertaining, fun, involve adventure and exercise. I don’t know if they allow you to track the people or their trail on a map website like AA Maps, but that would obviously add some more fu, not only to the players but to others.

So there are a couple of cool examples of LBS Games. What do you think you could come up with? You can enter to win prizes with your idea at www.locationinnovation.co.nz. If it’s really good, you could be heading for a free trip to the USA to the Where 2.0 conference in May next year!

December 4, 2008 Posted by | AA Maps, awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, new zealand, satnav, Uncategorized, university, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mapping New Zealand with the RAPIDcV

The car is the brainchild of our GM Phil Allen who says “This is the most advanced mapping car to drive New Zealand roads. We have driven all of New Zealand’s roads with differential GPS before, but this car has leading edge technology. New technologies demand superior quality data.”

While other cars are getting pretty good information and imagery, pretty good isn’t enough for today’s needs. This car is collecting up to a terabyte of data a month from five cameras catching lane information, street signs, turn restrictions and points of interest. We are capturing lane information, road curb and other information of value to councils, road maintenance, utility companies (managing roadside assets) and much more. We are also taking a 360 degree panorama photo every 50 metres.

So what’s leading edge? How about an IMU? This is an Inertial Measurement Unit as used in modern missile tracking systems and allows us to capture data with accuracy of 15 centimetres, even when the GPS signals are weak or lost. With traditional differential GPS accuracy is lost when the satellite signal is poor such as behind volcanic hill shadows and particularly in places in the South Island where the satellites are very low on the horizon or totally obscured from the GPS antenna.

The car is capturing valuable information including inclinometer (the rate of incline and decline of the hill which can be useful for all sorts of things beyond navigation, for example in data for cycling, training for marathons, car rallies. It is also measuring road camber.  By providing road camber information to services such as Fleet Management it may be possible to reduce truck accidents where they approach corners to fast for the height and load, based on knowing the angle of the road camber through corners.

Nothing has been spared when it comes to accuracy. The nature of the work means that we had to use a SUV and the trade off is body roll. To compensate for this we have sonic technology which measures the body roll and this is used in data calculation algorithms making sure that our data is highly accurate.

This unique vehicle is going to enable us to provide for the ever changing demands of new technologies with the best national data ever collected in New Zealand. It is part of our continuous ongoing driving program supporting a range of products including the leading brands in Car Navigation (brands such as Navman and TomTom) and Fleet Management (brands such as Navman, Xlerate, Astrata) as well as clients who will use the imagery to reduce the need to do their own driving.

GeoSmart has built a console to monitor the information and is also creating plug-ins to allow the visual data to be used in conjunction with GIS systems such as Intergraph and has the ability to pinpoint the location of street hardware such as power poles and transformers.

When people see the vehicle, we want them to know what we are up to, so they will understand that we are working to enhance the mapping products and services they use including websites like AA Maps and Wises, the Map Books they carry in their cars and the car navigation devices they use.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | car navigation, driving, driving directions, gps, lbs, maps, new zealand, satnav, Uncategorized, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments