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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Several top venture capitalists are putting their money where their mouth is regarding “‘The Smartest Companies to Start Now.’’ A press release on the competition from Business 2.0 (read the Sept issue which has the full story) lists the ideas and how much of $100,000 investors (like Steve Case and Howard Schultz) are willing to offer. Among them, alas, is location-based ads to your cell phone!

—Jeff Crowe, general partner, Norwest Venture Partners

WHAT HE WANTS NOW: GPS-enabled ads and coupons piped to your mobile phone at just the right time and place. Location-based marketing is a concept that’s been bandied about for years, but only now is the required technology becoming cheap enough to implement.

WHAT HE’LL INVEST: $3 million for a demo application and retail partners ready to test.

Wow, what a great idea! In a related article Laura Marriott at ClickZ discusses why such efforts are not yet mainstream.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/24 at 07:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Trailways Transportation System (AKA bus company) received a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and installed “an Internet-based GPS system” that track busses and their speed “direction, weather conditions, even how long the driver has been at the wheel.” There’s a panic button to alert authorities if there’s a problem and the company and the public (with permission, it seems) can track the busses.

And, it’s a great selling point according to Stephanie Futral, a part owner of 15-bus Memphis Trailways and Starkville Trailways:

It’s a real selling tool for us. Now we can give the group leader a passcode and the bus number, and they can see where the bus is at all times. They don’t have to call to find out when the bus will be home.


via Memphis Commercial Appeal

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/24 at 07:39 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“A GPS-enabled ‘London Barfinder’ section will enable visitors to the WAP site to find the nearest venue by entering the postcode of their current location.”

- UK’s BrandRepublic on a scheme to create loyalty by getting fans to watch football (not US football) at establishments that serve Carling beer. The article does not give the URL of the site and so have no idea what is GPS-enabled about it!

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/24 at 07:30 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The local paper in Tameside in the UK describes a plan by councillors to track students as they move to different school campuses by giving them GPS-enabled laptops. It’s unclear how the location information will be transmitted back to the teachers/administrators; I’d guess via the Internet (but then they could use something other than GPS to locate them…something that’d work indoors, perhaps?). I get the sense this is an afterthought as the region builds and re-envisions its infrastructure.

This whole “tracking students” issue is a challenge, to be sure. I just want to point out that putting GPS in a laptop may be a great way to track a laptop (when it has access to GPS satellites and a method to report its location) but maybe not such a great way to track a student.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/24 at 07:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Crime Mapping & Analysis Program (CMAP) at the University of Denver’s National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, announces the release of the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU) Developer’s Kit. It’s free for US law enforcement organizations and includes “several free software applications, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) programs, Geographic profiling utilities, tactical crime analysis tools, link-charting programs, Statistics programs and OpenOffice.”

via GovTech

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/24 at 07:02 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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