Archive for October, 2009

Rabkin’s ROI has a great post on the impact new technology has on our “baseline experience”.  Barry Rabkin points out that when new technology is seen to add value to our lives or improve the way we go about our business, a new baseline of expectation is established against which we measure future technology.

His post is a good reminder that disruptive technologies are always changing market expectations.  While we may believe our product is the disruptive one, we can can never lose sight of the reality that our competitors are also responding to changing market conditions.

For companies in the spatial technology world, this change is all too evident.  Particularly as one observes the business of organizations such as Microsoft and Google and others as they continually raise the bar of expectation among consumers with respect to access to spatial information, ease of use, etc.  What was pretty heady stuff a few years ago has now fallen below the threshold of user expectation.

I not sure the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” is entirely true in a competitive market place but it is clear that even when the bar is being steadily raised by some large market players, opportunity remains for others.  In the spatial technology field we continue to see many companies thrive (not all to be sure) and new companies emerge, set to introduce their own technologically disruptive products and services into the market.

The challenge remains to innovate around sound technology with a sharp eye on what the market requires.  Recognize the market expectation is always changing, don’t forget that your competition is probably gauging the market as closely as you are, anticipate what  they will do and have a plan to deal with it.

So how do you go about creating a dialogue between technical experts and those who may be able to benefit from the technology in question whether they realize it or not?

Location Intelligence Conference 2009

Location Intelligence Conference bridges this gap and creates dialogue.   LI 2009 has come and gone, in the process offering a wide ranging presentation of location technology trends and their application.

While not the opening talk, Jeff Christensen’s (Rhiza Labs) presentation entitled “Designing Simple Tools for Powerful Analysis” framed the discussion when he reminded those in attendance that ultimately data is used to tell stories and make decisions.  Regardless of complexity of the solution or the technology applied, the end goal is the same.

From a technology perspective, LI 2009 opened with Steve Coast founder of OpenStreetMap describing the phenomenal growth of the crowd sourced alternative to Navteq and TeleAtlas street network data.  As much as anything OpenStreetMap is a reminder that new paradigms can lead to technology advances and amazing new applications.

Cloud computing was a recurring theme throughout the conference with various speakers offering their expert opinion and hands on experience with cloud computing.  Discussion touched on cloud computing concepts, benefits, technical challenges and trends.  A particularly interesting presentation by Mark Sundt described the development of Appistry’s CloudIQ that provides a cloud solution for clients who want the benefits of cloud services but want to deploy it in their own data centres.

On the application side presentations covered the spectrum of location technology application from the complex with John Bennett (Hunt Energy IQ) describing Hunt Energy IQ’s work to integrate a range of sensors to develop green intelligent buildings where it is possible to calculate and manage energy costs in real time through the role of IP location information at the foundation of Examiner.com (Dave Shafer, Co-Founder and COO) allowing them to provide users with hyperlocal news content.

Three days of presentations, panel discussions and individual conversations provided a basket load of information on location technologies and their application.

My takeaways from LI 2009:

  1. Confirmation that location intelligence technologies continue to evolve and offer opportunity for new applications, and
  2. Successful applications of location intelligence technology consistently exhibit clear understanding and very specific use of technology regardless of the simplicity or complexity of the technology.