Putting the User in the Driver’s Seat of the Connected Car – Wired

The auto industry is racing to deliver on a grand vision for developing the “Connected Car” in which location technologies are integrated with relevant content to deliver a uniquely personalized online driving experience designed for those behind…

Source: www.wired.com

This is a very well thought out and written article. If you are interested in the direction of the Connected Car, I recommend having a read.

A couple of very important points for me. One is that Google, whilst it has some very clever technology, is not (yet at least) capable of delivering true car navigation. It doesn’t have the detail or the functionality, although it is fantastic from the perspective of a location based system.

A key issue is access to connectivity. Yesterday I was looking for evidence of a car crash that had been reported in New Zealand and  wanted to see a congestion map to see the impact of a closed national highway. Looking at the map it was clear that cellular coverage was week (or at least from Android mobiles, because it didn’t show anything in the area of the crash, where I expected to see evidence of slow or stationery vehicles. I can only assume that mobile coverage was the problem.

Connected cars won’t be very connected if they can’t talk to a cell tower, unless manufacturers also look at mesh networks, but as far as I know most of the effort in that space is for late model cars of one brand e.g. Volvo to talk to each other. Not many people buy late model Volvo’s in New Zealand.

There was also mention of car manufacturers who tie in to certain technologies, like the Volkswagen that had an iPhone cradle built in. Interesting move. Another very key fact is that many car manufacturers that put OEM car nav systems into their cars invest in the system and the initial map (typically one free update within a month of buying the car, but not ongoing) or they put in the map, but not the real time traffic solutions, which are equally important and available today. I do appreciate that the build design and OEM parts and partners are decided a couple of years before the first of a model is built. That means that smart ITS tech companies need to be involved in the car design much earlier. That means more car manufacturers need to consider mobile and ITS as part of their strategy, today is the information age. Safety is critical but location based computing will sell tomorrow’s cars.

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Man runs miles to spell out marriage proposal with smartphone GPS tracker – Mirror.co.uk

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A runner has proposed to his girlfriend of two years by running miles to spell out the big question on his phone’s GPS

Source: www.mirror.co.uk

There’s a trend happening here of people using GPS to map out words, and particularly marriage proposals. There was recently on a story where a man went all over Japan for a year using GPS to track words on a map.

This is very cool and potentially a great way to get people exercising. I have been trying for years now to get Map My Run to consider a feature whereby you can see everywhere you have been on a map, without success. My concept is I want to see where I have been before and the goal is to cover all roads, i.e. go places I haven’t been before. They said about 4 years ago that they would add it to the design mix, but maybe I’m the only person that has been asking for it. Maybe soon I’ll be able to do that on Google Maps and won’t need Map My Run any more. My phone seems to have a pretty good idea of where I am and where I’m going.

Here are a couple of other blogs on the subject:

Bored Cyclist Pedals GPS Bike Pattern Around Southern England

Mesmerizing Maps of Where People Jog

Top 6 Apps for the Fitness Junkie

This would be another way that people could create GPS art, like this, but you can see my point which is the weakness on many of these apps, not just Map My Run. This guy has had to do one word per route and bring up four separate screens to share his message.

It’s cool, but it feels very much like a Palm Pilot when it should be a Galaxy 5 or iPhone 6. Don’t get me wrong I loved my Palm devices so much I kept them. I have to laugh about the new phone with a stylus, representing it as a modern innovation, but I digress.

So am I alone, would you like a feature on a fitness app like Map My Run which would allow you to see where you have been before and create a new route on roads or tracks you haven’t been on? I would find it very motivational.

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Maps: The countries that have been hardest hit by extreme weather – Washington Post (blog)

Low- or lower-middle income developing countries are affected most.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

I’ve read and written quite a lot about climate change and there are many who say it is not true, that climates are cyclic (yes they do have patterns) and it’s all just scaremongering. So tell me a month in recent years that hasn’t produced a record of some climate related kind. It might be hottest, coldest (I did say climate change), wettest, stormiest, windiest etc.

I’ve also written about climate refugees coming to New Zealand http://thefuturediaries.com/2014/11/21/the-climate-change-refugees-are-coming-to-new-zealand/ from the future, but if I read this graph it would suggest parts of New Zealand are also at risk.

Would I come back to or stay in New Zealand, yes definitely, not just because it has plenty of good drinking water and isn’t subject to the same extremes as places like Asia, USA, Europe, the Pacific Islands and even some places in Australia, but also because we are a very tolerant multicultural society. Sure we have our rednecks, crime and other problems, but they are minor and rare in comparison to many 1st World countries. When a criminal escapes custody in New Zealand, the whole country knows who they were and what their circumstances were. Would that be the case in California?

Climate change is happening and it will bring good and bad. We will have more subtropical storms in New Zealand and  climate will force agriculture to rethink the best places to farm and what products are best suited to certain locations. We will be able to grow crops that we haven’t been able to grow here before, it brings new opportunities. We have issues with Ozone holes, but I’ve never seen acid rain, or huge forest fires, or heard people complain about having to drink recycled storm-water and having to buy bottled water. We have plenty of fresh water and natural energy resources. I wouldn’t buy a house at sea level on the beach unless I had a great insurance company and a back up plan, or was rich, I’m happy being 10 minutes walk from the beach. Do you think about things like that when you are looking at where to live. Here’s a really cheap eBook that will give you some great ideas to think about. Buying a House – Using Real Estate Apps, Maps and Location Based Services.

This map should be compulsory viewing for people around the world. It should be used by teachers in schools to understand why countries rate differently to others, to explore ways of improving their conditions, or at least be prepared for what is to come.

So has anything changed in your area? Have you had recent climate/weather extremes? Do you ever wonder about the fact that every few weeks there is a storm, or a drought or giant hail or extra high rainfall, tornadoes where they aren’t known, conditions that are the worst they have been in 100 years? Just watch how often those extremes are reported. It’s more prevalent than you might have thought and it is not getting better. Many scientists and world health and safety authorities are suggesting that we have brought the world past it’s tipping point and yet there still seems to be a political desire to not to much about it.

A good starting point is interactive maps like this to increase awareness and to just be aware of what is going on, at least in your neck of the woods. What will today bring? What’s happening in the Philippines this weekend for starters. But also just watch in your neighborhood, your country and your neighboring countries. Not scouring the media looking for extremes, just look at every day occurrences and  think whether that is the same as it was 30 years ago. Think about what it might be like in 20 years time. Don’t care? Do you have children or maybe grandchildren? What is in store for them and did we have a part to play in creating that and can we have a part in reducing the impact, even if we are past a tipping point.

I loved the recent comments by Stephen Hawking last week, which echo what I have been saying for years. If we had artificial intelligence perfected, the Hal 9000 scenario would make a lot of sense, This planet’s chances of survival in supporting life other than cockroaches, scorpions and other species that can apparently survive almost anything, would be much improved if humans were no longer around.

I’m getting off my Sunday Soapbox now. I kind of like being human, I like living and I love experiencing new things. I also accept a responsibility that I share with all of you that in order for my descendants to have a safe environment to live in for the foreseeable future something has to change and it starts with each individual human being. It starts with acknowledgement that we have problems.

What little thing could you do today? Pick up some rubbish, recycle some plastic, teach your kids about climate change. Plant something in your garden. Find out more about what’s happening in your part of the world. You are the problem and you are the system. If it’s to be, it’s up to me…..

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Posted in Buying a House, climate change, drinking water, health, lbs, Location Based Services, Maps, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internet of Things will change everything – Mobile Industry Review

The Internet of Things will have a profound impact on the way we communicate and live our everyday lives. But just what is it and what can it do for us?

Source: www.mobileindustryreview.com

The Internet of Things or IoT has been around for a while. If you control anything from your mobile for example, you are already using it. It might be remote controlling your TV, using a Fitbit, connecting to a GoPro. These are everyday things today and we don’t think of them as IoT, we just use them.

 

One of the things that I liked in the story was intelligent furniture. I get frustrated when I watch Science Fiction TV shows that are supposed to be in the future and they are still using the equivalent of today’s iPhones. In 20 years time that type of communication will seem as outdated as the bricks we used to use.

 

What do you have in your home today that’s connected? Garage door? Printer? Notebooks, Mobiles, Tablets, TV, alarm clocks, fitbit, Go Pro? I’ll bet you have a few even though you don’t think of them as IoT. I’m about to buy Bluetooth shower speakers for $20. You wouldn’t even think of that as being anything sophisticated any more right?

 

Think about basic entertainment. I put my iPhone into my home theatre and control Spotify from my iPad. Not only do I get the music I want, the latest tracks on The Billboard Top 100 but my phone is also charging at the same time.

 

Buying any Bluetooth or WiFi devices for Christmas? If the answer is yes, then you are buying into the IoT. The cool thing today is that we are just doing it, its not about the acronyms or jargon, its just how we live today.

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‘Google Maps’ for drug dealers launches online – showing nearest cannabis sellers – Mirror.co.uk

New ‘deep web’ site Map Dealers means that cannabis users can search a map for their closest dealer

Source: www.mirror.co.uk

When I first saw this headline, I thought Colorado or other places where cannabis is legal, but this seems to be a lot more blatant than that.

I can’t see why law enforcement agencies would have a problem with this. It would seem that on one side it is a shopping list for people who want to buy drugs, on the other side it is a shopping  list for people who want to bust them. Sounds like bag half full for both of them:)

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Snoop Dogg: the GPS industry’s secret weapon against Google

You know what TomTom has that Google Maps Navigation doesn’t? Snoop. D. O. Double G. Voice Skins, the same company that brought Homer Simpson to the world

Source: www.engadget.com

I have to say that the novelty wears off after a while, nevertheless voice skins on your nav have proven to be a huge success for TomTom. It is very smart marketing and a way of renewing your nav over and over again. I spend a lot of time looking at changing markets and how classic business models need to keep reinventing themselves. TomTom is a really good example of a business that keeps doing that.

I remember people saying the market would be saturated 5 years ago, but people are still buying nav units because they are still the best at what they do. That should get a few people going. I’m looking forward to your comments.

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5 Mobile apps mesh public safety and civic engagement – Need CPR skills or to report a crime?

Mobile apps mesh public safety and civic engagement

Source: www.statesmanjournal.com

5 really interesting apps described here give a great example of location based apps that are low cost and can save lives. Need someone with CPR skills while you’re waiting for the EMS to arrive? Want to know where crimes are bring committed? Crowd sourcing is a low cost and powerful way of engaging communities and the success stories are starting to come in.

Check out this great story and see what’s around. There is bound to be an app or an idea here for you to pursue.

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