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Monday, March 21, 2011

aisle411 and NAVTEQ kicked off ShowStoppers at the CTIA conference and got the LBS juices flowing early at CTIA. ShowStoppers is a "press only" event to introduce some new products but is not limited to location technology.

Mapping the Store Floor

aisle411 literally stopped me in my tracks as they demonstrated a mobile app for navigating the consumer to the specific aisle within a retailer to find a product. aisle411 competes with Shopkick in many ways but I was particularly interested in how the aisle411 app navigated to the specific store aisle (see graphic at right; click for larger image; see additional graphics for check-ins and offers). The company says they are working with several retailers to get each store's planogram to map the store by product categories. So, the consumer is able to navigate to the area of the aisle where they are likely to find the product. According to a company spokeperson with whom I spoke, this level of navigation gets the consumer sufficiently close the specific product for which they are looking without overwhelming them with too much location detail. Individual "big box retailers" (e.g. Lowes, Walmart) may have as many as 130 product categories and upwards of 50,000 SKUs.

aisle411 is reaching out to the "big box" retails currently, such as Shop 'n Save, (See press release) a major grocery chain, to get their store layouts. Otherwise, they will try to map each store on their own, but does so in an "above board" manor so the retail knows they are capturing data.

The aisle411 mobile app allows check-ins, will alert consumers with information on product promotions, and will crowdsource information where there consumer identifies a product that is miss-mapped by the app. This feedback is shared with the retailer and maps may be corrected if the product is indeed incorrectly located.

Another feature of the app is to create a shopping list and then have the app route you to each product location within the store based on a preferred route.

For non-indoor positioning, aisle411 is providing a geofencing application once the consumer is in the vicinity of the store. Some location-based advertising is associated with this geofence where the consumer is likely to receive promotional information from advertisers.

And so, long ago, when we featured articles on "mapping the store floor" this is what I had envisioned because a map of products by aisles is the level of detail required for supporting the customer. And for the retailer, they would have the opportunity to capture data on store traffic, a feature that aisle411 said is coming in the way of "heat maps" where they will identify well-traveled areas...which may, in turn, lead to how CPG manufacturers compete for shelf space.

Indoor Mall Navigation

The news from NAVTEQ takes this street navigation data provider well beyond its roots...or should I say "routes." NAVTEQ announced "Destination Maps." According to the company's press release, "Destination Maps feature a unique set of interior map attributes (e.g., escalators) with detailed place data to enable users to more efficiently navigate and explore interior spaces.  With NAVTEQ Destination Maps, location-based applications can extend beyond streets and sidewalks and into complex interior spaces." When I asked personnel staffing the NAVTEQ booth where they were getting their data the response was a bit vague. They indicated that they are using CAD drawings to model the interior spaces of large malls. So, NAVTEQ is not driving the hallways of malls just yet and simply relying on 3D models. I can envision that more precise positioning will be required; perhaps in the next generation of the product. I might suggest that NAVTEQ get together with aisle411 to look at synergies.

NAVTEQ believes that consumers are ready for indoor navigation and will integrate the application with other NAVTEQ products and data. In the press release, it hints at the possiblity of social networking to locate friends in real-time. This might overlap with other apps already in existence so, again, some venture with an existing social net application is in order.

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 03/21 at 04:47 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Yep, while we were all psyched to visit SCVNGR HQ demand far outweighed the 100 spots. So we are off to the IBM Center for Social Software thanks to Andrew Sempere and the folks at IBM Center for Social Change.

Tickets have opened to those on the wait list, then if any are unclaimed, there'll be some for folks not on the wait list.
by Adena Schutzberg on 03/21 at 09:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

One reason Tippecanoe County, IN is upgrading its GIS, which goes live Tuesday:

To add information on the old GIS site, officials had to take it down and relaunch it. The new site will be updated live by pulling in new addresses and information as they're added into the county system through the assessor's office and elsewhere.

- Journal Courier

The El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff's Office sought assistance in finding Austin and Edward Bryant, who went missing ten years ago from the GIS department. A team of four scoured imagery for changes in vegetation that might indicate soil was moved, suggested a burial location. Why did it take 10 years to ask for this aid? GIS Manager Jessica Ceasar suggested:

I don't think (law enforcement) was really aware of it. You also need special software to look at it. Then there's the time factor. In a case like this, we'd normally expect to look at something that happened recently, instead of 10 years ago.

The results have been turned over to the sheriff to help limit the search area as the investigation continues.


The City of Worcester, MA is using GIS to track all of the trees replanted after the Asian longhorned beetle destroyed almost 30,000 trees in the city. State officials and representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service described an aerial sketch mapping tool in a webcast last week.

Those tracking the beetle devastation in the city use a tablet computer to log areas where trees are planted, and to pinpoint areas where trees are needed. The system allows those in the field to precisely place trees and keep track of the organizations that planted them.

- Worcester Telegram

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/21 at 03:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

"We bring special analysis to complement a business' insights ... rather than them having to buy the technology and figure out how to do all this stuff. We've got economists, physicists and mathematicians as well as traditional geographical information systems people. We can find the needle in the haystack."

- Critchlow chief executive Jos Kunnen quoted in a Dominion Post article about his company's success with location intelligence in New Zealand. I'm not sure if the third word should be 'special' or 'spatial.'

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/21 at 03:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

An online tool called ResistanceMap, on The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy website, can be used to track the rise in antibiotic-resistant pathogens like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli in the United States.

The project is funded by the RW Johnson Foundation.

- Food Safety News

Existing digital technology also can help save people who have America's deadliest medical condition, heart problems. Apps on iPhone that monitor a patient's heart condition could automatically call an ambulance during the earliest stages of a cardiac event, bringing paramedics to the scene during those critical early minutes.

“No offense to Foursquare or Gowalla, but this is location-based services that can save lives,” Richman [director of social media at the marketing agency Possible Worldwide and author of the health care blog Dose of Digital] said.

- Live Science

Seven of the top 10 parliamentary constituencies for child poverty are in London, a study has revealed.

A child poverty map of England was published, which campaigners said showed much higher rates than in most other wealthy European countries.

The charity The Campaign to End Child Poverty is using its research and map to lobby for governmental efforts to combat the problem.

- Press Association

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/21 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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