Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mapping Rosewater, ARG, and much more

At work, I tend to have a lot of downtime - I use an SVN commit like the save command, and have a local CI setup. Unfortunately it takes about ten minutes for the whole suite to run, so I often find myself with a few minutes to kill where I can do nothing else productive.

During these times I either troll my co-workers with innocent questions about ordered hashes in Ruby 1.8.*, or I spend my time on open street map outlining buildings.

You can see how well I'm doing, as every house in rosewater is being traced, down to the level of building type, address, driveway, landuse and connection to power grid.

I don't know about you, but I truly want the Web of Things. I'm willing to put a lot of effort into annotating power poles with a unique identifier and geolocation; not because it's clear I will see a benefit in my life time, but I strongly suspect someone will.

So why do I spend so much time tracing and annotating map features?

Imagine this:
As a financial institution, you are lending money on a property. Is there anything detrimental to the property, like power lines obstructing the view or major roads?

At my former workplace, this was something "left to the people on the ground", as it was not feasible to
get that kind of data out of power and transport companies - and most of the time the problems stemmed from a person on the ground omitting facts about the proximity of geographical features that impacted value.

I've also been keen on augmented reality games - orienteering meets handheld android meets foursquare - just what can you do with that?
It seems like there is intense opportunity for marketing companies to take in new data layers to achieve their goals.

Hungry Jacks, known as Burger King in many other parts of the world, is one of the few that is doing this extremely well in my opinion.
There is an android application that mashes up your GPS location, store locations and offers you prizes.

The real genius of this application is not the marketing impact it has - that's really just a nice to have.

If you imagine that a fast food company pre-makes a lot of stock, which has a limited shelf life - there must be a lot of waste, right?

So why not seek the efficiency of every lost pre-made burger being turned into a prize for people not even in your store, but indicating a vague interest.... ?

When you check in with this application, it offers you a prize. I can't for certain state that it is managing "old stock", but it offers prizes which seem worthless during peak times ("Free medium coke!"), and things you don't really want during off-peak times ("It's 7:30am! Buy 2x Bacon Deluxe Burgers!").

If the Hungry Jacks/Burger King systems for managing orders cannot provide stats to an external program in near-real time, I think this is a hugely missed opportunity.

So who else is trying to take advantage of this?

In Adelaide, there's a company called NoQ. They seem to have good uptake with a number of retailers - they appeared in 2010-11 at my coffee shop, and now are at bars, retailers and much more.
The premise is "order ahead, and collect on arrival".
While the idea is solid enough - I certainly do this with local fast food for example - I have yet to use their functionality at all.
I am literally within 500m of a client of theirs, The Office, but the idea of pre-ordering a beer seems barely worth the attention.

If I were NoQ, I would look heavily into geolocation based marketing campaigns to supplement their existing offerings.

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