Waze will now tweet unusual traffic alerts through localized Twitter accounts – The Next Web

Waze is a great tool for checking real-time traffic to and from your destinations, but this information was always limited to users who’ve downloaded the app. Today, Waze wants to…

Source: thenextweb.com

Waze has so much potential, but I never seem to see anything on it that is useful to me. It is either information about incidents that have already been cleared. It sometimes can’t tell the difference between normal congestion at traffic lights at peak times and incidents.

One of the most frustrating things for me is that it is too dangerous to do updates yourself when you are driving, so you are seeing things that are wrong, but can’t correct them.

It’s interesting that Waze is a driver’s app. Maybe it should be promoted as an app for the passenger to manager. I do appreciate there are safety features that require you to confirm you are not driving if you are entering data, but I’m talking about the focus. Maybe market for the driver to watch, but as an app for passenger data entry. Just a thought.

Crowd sourced data is only as good as the number of people prepared to enter data and the ability to enter data at the right place and time. I was on the motorway yesterday and there was half a front guard lying on the road between two lanes and we all had to swerve to avoid it. By the time I was able to work out how to describe the location and then get to my hands free phone to report it, I was way past it. That’s a classic problem for a solution like Waze. I’m not knocking it, I have been a Waze user for many years. I just think we need to fine tune the way they get data and perhaps also the gamification. For example, people on buses would be a great target for data entry as would passengers who are commuting or perhaps car pooling.

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Grieving mother caught ghoulish graverobber after planting GPS tracking device … – mirror.co.uk

Mother said bringing Kylie Eales to justice would do nothing to bring back precious memorabilia that had been “lost forever”

Source: www.mirror.co.uk

I’ve often wondered about the things that get left at cemeteries and whether people take toys and mementos left in memory of our dearly departed.

These days you can put a GPS tracker on pretty much anything and it surprises me that there isn’t more of an industry going to protect belongings from people who have total disdain for others.

In this case it wasn’t about financial value, but something even more important, intrinsic value and not respecting people’s need to remember and grieve.

In this case it was successful and the person who stole items from the graveside will hopefully not be doing it again, thanks to a GPS tracker.

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Uber Upgrades SOS Button in India With GPS Tracking

The updated button for Uber’s app is designed to help local law enforcement act more quickly in emergencies.

Source: www.pcmag.com

Two in one in this story and the second one is more interesting, click on the link for a video on how Uber has linked to Carnegie Mellon to develop a driverless Uber car. Seems kind of ironic in that I thought part of the deal was that Uber was about their drivers and the fact that they not only had to comply with the law, but were also rated, as are the passengers themselves.

On the other hand I like the idea of cars or shuttles that you can  hire on demand, especially if driverless cars are cheaper than driven cars as the article suggests. Only problem is that a driverless car is probably going to cost 3 times as much because of the technology it requires and it could end up being more expensive than a cab. On the other hand that panders to an elite market that can afford to pay more.

Licensing a vehicle for public transport that doesn’t have a driver sounds interesting.

Back to the SOS button, wasn’t one of Uber’s features that you can check people’s comments and ratings about the driver? There have been plenty of stories about passengers being assaulted or worse in a licensed taxi. In NZ most of those now have video cameras monitoring what is going on inside the taxi.

I must try Uber out one of these days just for the experience. Have you used them?

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GogglePal adds a heads-up display of stats and games to any ski goggles – Gizmag

New in the sports wearables market is GogglePal, a heads-up display for snowboarders and skiers that places real-time fitness stats, navigational cues, and games unobtrusively in the user’s ski go…

Source: www.gizmag.com

You may recall that I wrote recently that Google Glasses were on hold, but that this wasn’t the end of the technology concept, rather the opposite and we were going to see Augmented Reality glasses in sports like skiing, multisport, marathons and golf.

This so makes me want to go skiing again. GogglePal looks awesome on the video. It’s only short and I recommend you watch it. Please note this blog is unsolicited and only here because I love this technology.

So first of all, you don’t have to buy a set of expensive goggles, prices range from $99 – $299 and you can continue to use your favorite brand, in fact a smart goggles brand IMHO should be co-marketing, rather than try to get into a manufacturing competition nearer to the failed price point of $1499 that Google wanted for their glasses.

So here’s what’s really cool. You get all sorts of stats on your ‘heads-up display’ speed, elevation and more.When I was skiing regularly, my mates were very competitive and I can see this becoming a must have for the regular skier.

As soon as smart ski-fields get their runs onto the maps, you will be able to see the track ahead, which is awesome, especially in snowing or semi white out conditions, and when trails cross each other.

The buddy finder is awesome. How many times have you lost your friends and ended up skiing alone (I mean when you didn’t lose them deliberately:) You can find them when you are racing down the slopes or just cruising, or perhaps heading for a hot chocolate.

I haven’t seen them, but I suspect for $299 you don’t get text to speech, so if you want to say “I’m at the bottom of the staircase lift” you would probably have to take your gloves off, fish out your mobile and try to type on your phone with your damp cold fingers. Tapping your Google Glasses and dictating a message to your phone is the sort of thing you pay a premium for. I’m sure that will also come to cheaper models.

The games will be a hugely popular feature for millennial and I could see it being a huge hit for skateboarders and will spawn lots more game ideas. Again smart ski-field operators will be looking to create games that help traffic management on the piste, by encouraging people to try all their slopes or take people from the busiest ones, and promote their services.

In fact a smart ski-field would rent these out and could do some amazing things with this technology. They could run passport competitions where you have to try each slope within your skill range, daily competitions for the most runs, the fastest runs, the most stem Christies, the longest vertical of the day and much more with LED signs and people’s names in lights as milestones are reached. This could revolutionize competitive, casual and sport skiing and encourage a whole new generation onto the slopes.

IMHO, this is not just a new gadget you put on your goggles, it could reinvigorate an industry that continues to grow in popularity. The hard thing will be getting people to leave at night so they can groom again for the next day.

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Delhi govt to put GPS in water tankers for tracking by public

Delhiites will soon be able to track the movement of water tankers, including private ones, on a real-time basis as they would be fitted with GPS, the state government has said.

Source: zeenews.india.com

In a meeting about growing traffic congestion yesterday, I was discussing the fact that in some parts of the USA today, drinking water is frequently no longer that pure stuff that comes from underground aquifers, due to climate change. In fact many countries have this problem as I illustrated from a Washington Post map in a previous blog.

That is just one of the reasons I believe we will see migration around America and long term repositioning of population where people do not want to have to drink, wash and play in recycled waste water, irrespective of whether it meets WHO standards.

With these and other problems around the world, I see more people wanting to migrate to countries like Australia and New Zealand, which could put additional strain on our infrastructure. And just for the record, we do drink river water in many places here too, but I digress.

The Delhi Government have again pushed the barrow of GPS in certain industries. A couple of years ago they said that all rickshaw taxis had to have GPS. Personally I think that’s a good thing in principle, but as I understand it, the majority of rickshaw owners can’t afford the technology as it currently stands.

I don’t know how lucrative the water business is in Delhi, but I love the concept of transparency that safety brings to segments.

Someone challenged me recently saying technology doesn’t solve people problems and he was partly right. Technology is only a tool and in many cases GPS is seen as a cure-all. It isn’t. The frequent cases of criminals who slip off their ‘secure’ GPS anklets and go out and do their thing is a great example. If this system publishes the locations of 1,000 water tankers, and the locations are made easily accessible to the public, and I’m not going to get into demographics, it does remove a barrier.

What I find really interesting is how different parts of our world are. Here we are solving 3rd world problems, i.e. no piped water in a large city, by tracking the vehicles that are delivering this precious liquid.

It sounds like a really good time to be in the GPS and mapping business in India.

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Car Technology Choice Study Shows Low Interest in Navigation Functions – Inside GNSS

Inside GNSS Car Technology Choice Study Shows Low Interest in Navigation Functions Inside GNSS Twenty years after Detroit introduced the first in-vehicle car navigation systems, employing GPS and digital map technology, collision avoidance appears…

Source: www.insidegnss.com

This shouldn’t come as a surprise although I’m not sure I totally agree with some of the interpretations of the findings of this research.

First of all, for most people, finding your way around a strange place is difficult and stressful. Map reading is just as complex or more when it comes to driving and it is not that many years since I used to see people driving, especially tourists, with a map on their steering wheel. Not a safe way to drive in my book.

I also remember the number of times when I had to stop the car to identify my current location and the’ disappearing sign’ law took over. You know, where the only place you can safely stop is nowhere near any street signs and you have already missed the turn you were supposed to take.

One of the problems with OEM car navigation has been the pricing model. When car manufacturers are competing against each other on price, they offer a car with the bare bones. You get a steering wheel, windscreen, maybe even a rear window wiper, but the rest is either in an options tick box, or the up-sell model. Once they have convinced you of the brand and model, then come the extras.

Car navigation is priced as an extra unless you are buying a more expensive car. It is OEM but is typically installed outside of the factory, which adds cost. It’s like a part. For example, by the time a new car, assembled in Australia with car navigation fitted before it arrives brand new in New Zealand, the nav gets marked up about 6 times. One of the nav units I had in my car, when nav was first launched retailed for around $6,000 or above, however the cost to the factory was under $1,500. Similar in fact to the retail price of the first Navman portable devices.

The complaint that navigation is too hard to use would be anathema to the car navigation companies who have invested millions into being so “user friendly that you don’t need a manual”. Of course the millennials are not likely to generically be the age group that buys brand new cars and many baby boomers still struggle with TXT messaging.

I think there are two other factors in play in regard to this story. First, most of us now have smart phones and they have GPS, they know where they are.They come with maps and guidance applications. Add a windscreen mount and you have a GPS navigation device that you can move from car to car, goes with you on the bus, train, walking and you can put in your pocket when you don’t need it. If its going to be an expensive option, an addition to the cost of the car, then why bother.

Safety is definitely important and our motoring associations and other groups lobby hard for our vehicles to be more safe. As cars become easier to drive, i.e. such that people don’t need to understand the principles of motoring, we inherently have more dangerous drivers. Back in the day you had to understand how gears worked for example, you quickly learned what would happen if you didn’t use the clutch, or were going up a hill in the wrong gear. Now for many people, driving is more point and shoot. Self parking cars are popular because many of today’s drivers can’t consistently parallel park.

If you are still here, my last comment is about the Gartner Hype Curve. Have you ever looked at concept cars and wondered why you have to wait so long for cars that look like that, or have ‘those’ features. Whilst change appears to happen quickly these days, the examples of people that say new technology is too hard illustrates that we just aren’t ready en mass to adopt the new changes in technology.

We prefer one bite at a time. That’s why its taken so long to get from the Palm Pilot based phones and why Blackberry isn’t really around any more. They were there for the early adopters, but couldn’t become mainstream because it was ‘too hard’ for the baby boomers (again) to get their heads around the technology. They also said they didn’t need it. Many of them now have smartphones with touch screens because it is hard to get anything retro, like with number buttons. But ask them how many screen devices they had in their home then and how many they have now!

Last week I saw a CNN show which was demonstrating a Coca Cola vending machine that allows you to buy a drink and enter a competition, paying from your mobile phone. A couple of days later I happened to be on a flight home and the person in the row in front of me , we’ll call him Kefyn, was an old associate who used to work at Ericsson, where they had a coke vending machine that you could get drinks from, by sending a TXT message, in their office, around 15 years ago, if not longer.

It seems we technology evangelists continue to have to work our way through the hype curve, past the trough of disillusionment to the early majority at the pace that the majority can cope with. That’s why we have evolution and not revolution. But without those of us with the foresight to push and push, we would still be trying to breed faster horses as the wise men of the cities advocated not much more than 100 years ago.

We have come a fair way haven’t we?

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Hunt for Kiwis after powerful Nepal earthquake kills more than 1300 – National – NZ Herald News

More than 1300 people across four countries have been killed after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal causing massive damage in the country’s capital. – New Zealand Herald

Source: www.nzherald.co.nz

New Zealand has had a long relationship with Nepal, ever since Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top of Mt Everest. I remember in my youth having a school presentation when they were collecting money to build schools and hospitals. I remember blowing a Sherpa alpine horn. In later years several friends went to Nepal, some to climb, some to enjoy the alpine tourism.

In previous blogs I have asked about how ready we are for earthquakes and we have learned a lot http://bit.ly/1z5uDsI

It was great to read that Google came to the party straight away with their Person Finder application https://google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake which was one of the excellent outcomes of the Christchurch earthquakes.There have since been many more location based services (LBS) applications showing the state of roads and infrastructure to help people find their way around. There were applications to tell people where to find essential services like water, toilets, communications, generators, shelter. I’m hoping all of those will be made available as quickly as possible, including showing people how to set them up and use them.

The world came to help New Zealand in our time of need and I hope that we will be sending experts over there, both for Search & Rescue as well as rebuild.

Over this weekend in New Zealand when we remember our brave ANZAC Kiwis who went to the other side of the world to help restore peace in countries we had never heard of, to help people we had never met. On the 100th Anniversary of the ill fated Gallipolli landing, it would be a poignant and fitting end to this commemoration, for us to do whatever we can to help the people of Nepal. I look forward to seeing Kiwis continue our proud tradition of helping people in need, in other parts of the world, especially given we have plenty of experience.

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