BranchInfo 2010 BranchInfo 2010 BA

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bing Goes to Dinner

Microsoft Bing & Local announced some enhancements yesterday based on user research -

· Interior Views: Provides users with immersive 360-degree panoramas of local businesses
· OpenTable Integration: Lets users interact with OpenTable directly from restaurant pages
· Real Time Transit on Mobile: Gives users real time info if a bus is on-time or delayed
· Streetside for Mobile: Brings users street-level imagery + some mobile-exclusive enhancements

So, if you like dinner dates using public transportation, you're all set.  Seriously, the integration of maps and views and Open Table is cool, I'm an Open Table user and this streamlines things and adds some view candy.  And the mobile transit feature is Killer in cities where public transportation rules (NY, Boston, SF, Chicago, etc.).

The Bing map themes are improved, too.

But the reality is, everything Microsoft does in this space seems derivative, a day late and a buck short.  The value added, mild.  And the last time I looked, everything we do in computing is still based on WIMP.  Where's the user research on a better mobile interface?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Checking Accounts, GIS & Location Based Marketing

In case you haven't heard, free checking died. 

Checking account fees are about to change all over the place.  The way that banks look at you is changing, and certainly the way you look at them is.

Check out the ESRI Financial Services SIG for an interesting discussion of how banks use GIS to ferret out opportunities as all the prices change, and location based marketing to address them.  And figure out what this means to you and how to save some time and money.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waze Finds Means

Waze, the social networking traffic and navigation app that adds user updates in real time on traffic and road conditions to the typical turn-by-turn directions of a navigation system, got another $25 million venture capital boost yesterday.

Ultimately, this is another location-based marketing play, in which advertising based on proximity will be pushed to users as they roll by the location.  CEO Noam Bardin noted that "location is all about relevancy, and what’s more relevant than showing you coupons around the routes you drive and what’s available at your destination when you arrive?"

What is fascinating here is indeed the routes perspective, marketing to commuters not on the basis of where they live, not on the basis of where they work, and not on the basis of how these relate to the work and home locations of friends - but based on their dynamic location on routes they travel each day, and how these interconnect with those of friends, family, clients and colleagues. 

Whether Waze can improve upon and differentiate from established players in this regard remains to be seen.  But if they can somehow entice users with games, geocaches and other content and build upon their 2.2 million user base, they might build this into something that will be useful for traffic counts as well as social networking and location based marketing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caliper Releases Maptitude 6.0

Caliper is nothing if not great at providing solid, professional GIS features at a value price point.  Back in the day, its original design was so informed by Atlas GIS - then the market leader in business GIS - that it seemed like a virtual clone in look and feel as well as functionality. 

Today, Maptitude is taking lessons from ArcGIS, and learning them well. 

The 6.0 release includes Thematic mapping and other Wizards, 2010 Navteq geocoding, a territory manager, label expressions, transparency on layers and a robust bundled dataset among the compelling additions. 

For developers, there is support for .NET and now SQL Server Spatial.

Lots of value here at just $695 and $395 for upgrades.