Trucks to be able to Share Black Ice Information with Aftermarket Solution

There have been some great stories of V2V communications but they have typically been proprietary. Volvo for example are developing some wonderful systems whereby a truck can share information about a crash or other conditions, with other Volvo trucks, or any manufacturer prepared to invest in the Volvo vehicle to vehicle system, but of course many (not all) companies don’t like to buy tech from their competitors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo this solution which can plug into any CAN-bus and share information from the anti-skid braking systems when trucks hit black ice, something we commonly experience in the South Island and North Island alpine passes in New Zealand (many of which are freight routes) sounds like a real winner.

This innovation from Finnish company EEE Innovations Oy is being trialed by 1,000 freight vehicles in conjunction with the Finnish Transport Agency aka Trafi. You can find more information here. I’m sure transport operators around the world will be monitoring this.

The challenge is of course how to get the communications from vehicle to vehicle. In some of the worst locations in New Zealand mobile coverage is not 100% and we don’t have 5G which a lot of these systems are being built on. On the other hand for freight we do have good two-way radio coverage and many fleet management systems that support telemetry so I’m sure we can innovate in ways to share that information, not only with other freight users, but also with the roading organizations and contractors, who can be alerted to deal with the black ice and also alert other road users.

Posted in accidents, Collaboration, Communications, connected cars, Cool Tech, Future Technology, Futurist, Innovation, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet of Things, IoT, location based apps, Motoring, New Zealand, Technology, telecommunications, traffic, traffic design, Traffic Information, Traffic Management, Traffic Optimization, Transport, Travel Information, Truck GPS, Truck Navigation, truck safety, Trucks, V2P, V2V, Why fleet management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the best way to track your car in New Zealand?

I need to do some research. Cars in my neighborhood are being stolen and I don’t want mine to become a statistic. The question for me is do I want something sophisticated that does a lot more than I need, or will a basic solution suffice?


Bay View Hotel in beautiful Kaiaua which hopefully is still in good condition after the terrible storm that flooded the area a few days ago

Ideally if my vehicle was stolen, I’d want to be able to locate it and while its illegal and dangerous to stop or govern a car while it is moving, it would be good to not allow it to get started again when it is stationary and at a good point where I could quickly guide Police to it, given it is not appropriate to take the law into my own hands.

Being a sports car, it would be good to know that noone is taking it for joy rides while it is being serviced, but most of the time it goes to Wall Motors who brought it in for me and I know and trust them.

On the other hand, I really would want it back in one piece and the person who stole it, having a new place to stay on my taxpayer dollar, if you get what I mean. So my question is, would a really low cost disruptive technology be good enough instead of the more sophisticated system requiring installation?

The simple answer is that I don’t know yet, but I will find out. I’m keen to compare conventional car GPS trackers with something quite different.

I made a little investment into Magpie “the smartest, truly global GPS Tracker around”  back in June last year on Kickstarter. They are due to ship next month so I’m getting really excited to find out if this product will live up to my expectations, which I’m sure they will given the pedigree of the founders Derek and Calum Handley, Raul Oaida, and Keiji Takeuchi.

So I’m really looking forward to testing this technology on its own and against traditional car tracking systems. Then I’ll be in a position to make a recommendation to you, dear reader.

If you have tried either of these systems, I’d love some comments as to what you believe is the best solution when all you are looking for is keeping track of your valuable car, not so much how fast it is going and whether it is being driven safely without harsh braking, lead feet (not me) or whether the young person who borrowed it is truly where they said they were.

Do you own a vehicle or other tracking device besides your mobile?

Posted in Accurate Map Tracking, Best GPS, best GPS trackers, Best Practice GPS, Bike tracking, Car theft, car tracker, car tracking, cars, Catch Crooks with GPS, cheap gps, disruptive model, find car, Future Technology, Gadgets, GPS, GPS Survey, GPS Test, GPS Tracker, GPS Tracking, GPS Traxcking, insurance, insurance risk, IoT, law enforcement, location based apps, Location Based Consultant, Location Based Servces, love of cars, Motoring, Personal GPS Trackers, Personal security, Personal tracker, Remote control apps, Sensors, Stolen cars, Stolen truck, track children, track crime, track mobiles, Track phone, Track Smartwatch., Track Thieves, Tracking a cellphone, Tracking animals, Tracking Apps, Tracking Children, tracking data, Tracking kids, tracking missing peopl, Tracking pets, Tracking staff, Tracking stolen property, Why fleet management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Location-Based Chatter is a Goldmine

I was listening to the latest Convince and Convert podcast with Carlos Garcia  from HYP3R this morning, which resonated with my passion for loyalty and location based services.

This is one of my current favorite podcasts and always has some gems. For example I like to think that organisations are doing social listening for people talking about their business and following the advice that Carlos  or Jay Baer suggested in this interview (sorry can’t remember which one it was) which is, amplifying positive feedback about your business or operation at a higher ratio than negative feedback, that is mostly not directed at your handle, because as well as developing great relationships with your customers, this can have a significant impact on your sentiment ratings.

Here’s an example of this concept at work. A little over a year ago I was heading for a domestic flight from Auckland airport. I got on the escalator from the carpark and took a little video.

Auckland Airport bagIf you haven’t clicked on it, it showed my side of the escalator not moving and the other one going up. I put a note on Instagram asking if anyone could see what was wrong with the picture.

What happened next impressed me so much!

I checked my Twitter account only minutes later and this is what happened.


Auckland Airport EscalatorThis is what I’m talking about! In no time flat they had made a fan out of me AND I have told dozens of people about Auckland Airport’s amazing response and the commitment they made to social media monitoring, especially when you consider how many grumpy people use social media to vent about things impacting on their airport experience.

I was really interested in what HYP3R had to say about geofencing social media around properties like Hotels, or in fact anywhere and capturing conversations on social media taking place at that location because most of the conversations are about business, service providers, corporates, government or a location, not with it.

I use social media listening tools, but what I understand is that if people don’t have location services turned on (especially with Facebook) their location is incorrectly shown by default as being in the US, which is not particularly useful in New Zealand. So they won’t be shown on the map on Brandwatch or in my HootSuite radius search.

The blog discussion then went on to Foursquare and what went wrong with that model for business use. I used to be a Foursquare Ambassador, I still have some of my Foursquare Ambassador business cards somewhere. It was an amazing opportunity which I really wanted to explore when I owned The New Zealand Smartphone and PDA Academy because I saw an awesome opportunity to develop loyalty programs for hospitality and tourism.

However, Foursquare would only allow me to have a one on one relationship with each of my customers which meant that I had to have a seperate account for each and every retail client. This was never going to be scalable and while plenty of cafes and other businesses were keen, the BCR was never going to stack up without some automation.

I strongly believe this could have been huge if they simply supported my model. I developed a new one, which can work for retailers and destination businesses, but it is so frustrating when you see a business model that is so close to being awesome. Their business model was to be a social network first and the loyalty part was soon forgotten. To me that was their USP.

Do you listen to what customers or potential customers are saying about your business, especially when they are not communicating with you. Do you agree about the value of amplifying positive feedback and communicating with ‘customers’ who like what you do?



Posted in Business Consultant, Communications, Customer Research, Customers, Foursquare, Hospitality, Hotel, Hotel Apps, Location Based Services, Map apps, New retail ideas, Proximity Based Marketing, Restaurant, Retail, retail apps, Social Media, Social Media Insight, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Word of Mouth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AI, Ethics, Assumptions and Privacy

My podcasts were up to date and I started looking for something new to listen to in the car and while doing my chores and I’m so glad I did.

I landed with Professor Genevieve Bell and the Boyer Lectures starting with 04

Fast, smart and connected: How to build our digital future

and I will be recommending it to my colleagues and associates and of course to you dear reader because it is so pertinent to our lives today.

She talks about privacy and how we willingly give up privacy in return for services we enjoy, but also how that data than gets shared or sold to third parties and how much organisations like NetFlix, Google and Facebook know about us. ‘They almost know more about us than we do ourselves.

In my framework, I relate to her thoughts that we build artificial intelligence based on assumptions, biases and historical information. That means the code in our algorithms for AI are more based on Skinner rooted psychology rather than the more complex behaviours of humans. I think back to seeing video of a fighter jet attacking a base in the Middle East, sighting people wearing burqa or niqab and determining they must be enemies.

We aren’t black and white thinkers and I don’t think IBM’s Watson beating a human playing chess should pass the Turing test. I’m heartened in my work to see the ‘customer’ word used and studied in detail today and am hopeful that we can recognise, in designing our future cities and countries that people are complex and that emotions are a lot more than selections of binary on-off switches, no matter how many transistors we sequence.

She quoted Bill Gates’ concerns about the threat of Smart Machines and even Elon Musk who many might be considered an evangelist of AI, given his focus on driverless cars and other ‘smart technologies’ who says AI is the biggest threat to civilisation.

Growing up on a diet of Science Fiction, like Asimov whose hopeful Laws of Robotics have already been consigned to history; Dick, Heinlein and contemporaries warned of potential dystopian futures that seem a lot more realistic today.

The problem, Genevieve pointed out with machine learning is the biases that go into the programming and then lead to digital biases that ‘thinking’ machines might develop exponentially could lead to extremes of electronic thinking on a totally different track to the human traits Ariely describes as predictably irrational.

I think I’d better go and do my chores, it’s Sunday and dry and I’m at my computer. Here’s a thought and I’ll share my last thought with the quote from Elon Musk that AI is vastly more risky than North Korea.

IMG_0108Be totally honest and truthful and ask yourself, given what we do to each other and our planet, if an AI were given the ability to examine mankind, would it not have to come to the conclusion that humans are the greatest risk to the survival of Planet Earth?


Posted in Artificial intelligence, Autonomous cars, Customer Research, Driverless car, endangered species, Future Technology, Futurist, Google, Intelligence, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet Privacy, IoT, Privacy, Social Media Marketing, Society, Technology, the future | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congratulations to Countdown on their new Proximity Based Marketing App

For a number of years I’ve been prodding retailers to take advantage of location services on people’s smartphones with several blogs including some looking at the grocery industry.


The previous Countdown App

I was disappointed when they dropped their old app, but delighted to read that Countdown in New Zealand has again showed some leadership with their latest one, designed to allow customers to order their groceries online direct from their smartphone and have them freshly picked and packed for their arrival.

This answers one of the trust questions that I’ve heard raise, which was about the quality of the produce. One of the barriers to delivery is that people want to pick their own fruit based on when they want to consume it. They want the choice cuts of meat, but the store needs to sell as much of their perishable products as quickly as possible.

The other concern is wondering how long it has been sitting in a bag for. Will the frozens be defrosting? Will the product have the longest ‘use by’ time? Many customers know that grocers back-fill their shelves so that’s where they pick their own groceries from.

The proximity element is a win:win because it monitors when the customer is within a 400 meter geo-fence or radius of the store, alerting picking staff to pack the groceries so that they are ready for the customer pretty close to when they arrive at the store. It lets the customer know their shopping will be ready for them. I’m not sure if it gives the customer the option to delay their pickup for example if they want to visit the cafe next door with the time they saved and don’t want it quite so immediately.

It is also great to see that there is a survey component on the app which will allow customers to provide insights on how it it working.

At this stage it is only in a few stores as per this story from Supermarket News, so I will have to wait to try it out, but I think it will be a winner for all. I’ve downloaded it and it has all the features I would expect from the previous experience, including lots of ways to select products including specials, recipes if you’re not yet decided on what’s for dinner and even a store locator if you are away. The only thing I didn’t see was a bar code reader. I’d like to scan products onto my shopping list as I consume products and barcode reading is of course simple on my smartphone today. I’m sure that’s coming….

This is convenient and easy for the customer who knows their groceries have been freshly picked and packed awaiting their arrival; and profitable for the stores who can better manage aged stock and stock turn as well as staffing levels as they get to understand the patterns of when people want to pick up their groceries.

Well done Countdown. This is what I was talking about, recommending retailers get their act together before disrupters like Amazon make it to the local scene. TradeMe really set the example as they did such a good job that giants like eBay didn’t bother coming here. There is no use crying once the competitor arrives, it is better to show them that there is little or no business case for them to turn up.

The next step would of course be to allow me to opt in and be offered proximity based loyalty deals because I am in the neighbourhood, allowing them to compete with convenience stores.

Posted in Best Practice GPS, Business, Business Consultant, Business Intelligence, Checkins, Customers, Foresight, Future, Futurist, geospatial, GPS, GPS Apps, GPS Tracking, grocery, New retail ideas, retail apps, retail survival, retail systems, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m stuffed If I’m Going to Get on that Tokyo Train

This brings back many memories of catching the train in Tokyo. I’ve been on most lines and this was classic morning rush hour. I remember about my 3rd trip I was catching a train to another part of the city to meet the manufacturer of touch screen pads we were looking to use to develop an electronic waiter pad to go with a Casio restaurant POS system.

A colleague from Australia was with me and we stood on the station platform looking at each other, thinking we might have to wait for the next train. But sure enough the men with the white gloves were there to solve the engineering problem in their inimical way. So we joined the throng at the door together and were duly pushed into the carriage along with the locals. There seemed to be a little groping going on and I’m not sure it was the ‘conductors’, but it all added to life’s rich experiences in public transport.

Next thing you know we are on opposite ends of the carriage, but as we were about a head higher than the locals, we could see each other clearly and just cracked up with laughter. We didn’t have to worry about offending anyone, the instant they were on the train, they were asleep. Standing, sitting, it didn’t make any difference, they must have had train circadian body clocks, because they didn’t seem to miss their stations.

Our worry was now that we were packed in like proverbial Japanese sardines, how were we going to get off when we arrived at our station? We worked it out, just gently push and shove the same way we got on.

Posted in congestion, Public Transport, rail, trains, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment