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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yahoo has rolled out many goodies for those in India including betas of Yahoo! Our City and Yahoo! India Maps (don’t worry, the maps meet government approval). The former is for user generated and Yahoo created content. Of particular interest (and not in the press release) is the notion that CE Infosystems, the company that created Map My India, created the mapping app(agencyfaqs). Another source (Computerworld) says “CE Infosystems has provided the data for the maps.” The copyright for the data on the map says CE Infosystems. Imagery is from i-cubed.  Apparently AOL is launching in India tomorrow.

- agencyfaqs
- Computerworld

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 08:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This is covered in a few places, but geo is getting decent billing at this event in San Francisco. IBM is showing off its “presence” tools - allowing devices to be smart based on location - like a phone in an ER docs pocket not ringing in the ER. Microsoft Research is showing of ways to manage software using hand gestures. The former is emerging tech. I feel like we’ve seen the latter to death. When can we use it? Several years out, apparently…

- ZDnet Blog, also video at Webware/CNet

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 08:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Now, this is a small country and a relatively smaller payment than might happen elsewhere, but it’s an interesting data point on how future acquisitions might play out worldwide. In short Ituran Location and Control Ltd. which offers fleet tracking acquired Mapa Mapping and Publishing, which is the largest provider of GIS (per the announcement) and more importantly owner of GISrael, a nationwide navigation database. The price was $9.9 million plus $3.1 million for repayment of loans to Mapa shareholders.

- Globes Online

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 07:47 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Gene Roe offers up an interesting look at laser scanning (pdf) as the next big thing for surveyors in the most recent American Surveyor. He notes that it fits into a pattern of disruptive technologies that have provided significant results for that discipline including GPS and the Internet and clearly thinks its worth exploration by today’s practitioners. (I agree, but base my thinking solely on the fact that two smart guys from Daratech, Tom Greaves and Bruce Jenkins, started a practice built on that market in 2003.)

Most interesting to me is the discussion of commodity pricing where Roe cites a product life cycle model from Windermere Associates (noted by Clayton Christenson in his work on disruptive technologies).  The “Buying Hierarchy” suggests that products go through four phases as they mature: functionality, reliability, convenience and price. In short, when one product offers functionality that others to do not, it has the edge. When two or more products offer that functionality, the decision point moves to reliability and so on, until in the end, buyers can assume the end products are essentially similiar and thus price is the only distinguisher. At that point, goes the theory you have a commodity. Roe points out that’s basically “Wal-Mart.”

Now, I think back a year or so and recall Gary Lang of Autodesk making the argument that it was time to open source MapGuide (the “new” MapGuide, aka MapGuide Enterprise if from Autodesk and MapGuide Open Source if from OSGeo) in part because Web mapping software was a commodity. I thought then this was a fair statement and within the context above, it seems even more reasonable. I’ll point out that the “convenience” phase was when buyers simply bought the Internet Mapping solution from their existing GIS software provider because it was “more convenient.”

As I think about geospatial products I can see some heading down to the commodity phase - desktop GIS for one, some data products for two. What’s more interesting and perhaps indicative of where we are as an industry: what’s distinct on functionality right now? ArcGIS Server comes to mind quickly. So does a watermarking product I saw recently. What else? 

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 07:21 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There’s a battle line drawn for local mobile search, with carriers on one side and Web properties on the other side.  Sure, we’ve seen a few carrier-managed and distributed POI apps; sure, we’ve seen Web property efforts to make local search available with manual address inputs; but without freely available lat/long, no one has really fired a shot yet… except Nokia.  In a neither here nor there purgatory position, some suggest they are confused over which camp they live in, evident by their distancing dance from the stodgy telecom world, while simultaneously trend-following some sort of hip mobile ‘2.0 something’.  This suggests that even the best in their business are struggling with identity as Telecom and Internet forces collide on the ‘commputing’ battlefield.  But, with so many application areas to tackle in commputing, why are so many (including Nokia) fixated on mobile local search?  With 2 billion sets of connected eyeballs out there, that equates to a lot of ad cash.  Lots of folks want that cash, which has historically gone to those who owned yellow & white pages print (yep, that would be the Telecom companies).  Add to this a Telecom-world acceptance that ad-subsidized services as the way forward for mobile data consumer services in general, and someone (ah hem, the carriers) just got quite concerned that the Web guys are good at what they do. Mix in a handset provider bystander perspective to these dynamics in motion, and well, we now have a three way battle.  This is going to get uglier… 

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/25 at 11:13 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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