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You Can't Park There Mate!

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Pocket GPS Staff
Pocket GPS Staff

Joined: Jul 21, 2004
Posts: 2718
Location: Chelmsford, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: You Can't Park There Mate! Reply with quote

Now that wireless has entered a more participatory, social phase, it is expected that shared data collection, storage and collation will expand exponentially.

Think about all the 'wasted' legacy information that text messaging alone loses. And now imagine if just a tiny percentage of that wastage morphs into shared community information, opinion and therefore user-centred change. There is a huge amount of electronic information that's out there stemming from the various forms of static and mobile technology, not least your SatNav.

What's the most popular film at the cinema tonight, which nearby restaurant sells my favourite food, for how much and how is it rated?

This is of course similar territory to what PocketGPSWorld.com is involved in; it is that valuable shared community information that keeps our speed camera warning database so accurate. That kind of quality would be prohibitively expensive to a company that didn't have an enthusiastic network of thousands to rely on.

So what are the implications of shared location aware solutions for business? Take the motor insurance industry for instance. Insurance companies may choose to supply you with (for free) tracking and routing services to help you avoid statistically proven dangerous roads.

How much will your car insurance premiums decrease because you never park in the known theft areas highlighted on your SatNav? Would they decrease if your vehicle was tracked as only been driven once or twice a month? (See Progressive Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance USA.) Or would they increase if you were tracked breaking the speed limit?

Obviously the insurers would still seek to make the same profit, but that profit could be actuarially based on a much fairer system of known risk and usage. They might find the business model so attractive that they provide you with these services for free... and then recommend the safest nearby car park, cheapest petrol station or nearest breakdown truck/garage who they also happen to be partners with.

You never know, they might even pass on the benefits of this extra revenue to their customers. OK then, maybe they wouldn't.

Whatever the pros and cons, it's certainly a model fraught with problems as one UK company, Norwich Union Insurance, found out after a two year trial - they've recently shelved the idea until further notice! The company claims too few customers have signed up. Do you think the next generation will be so reticent?

Also, what do you think will be the most popular uses of shared location based information in the future? You never know, it may even be something PocketGPSWorld.com might want to get involved in Smile
Robert Brady
Editor, Pocket GPS World
The Premier GPS / SatNav Resource for News, Reviews and Forums
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Joined: Aug 05, 2006
Posts: 407
Location: Alconbury - UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is scary stuff when you think about it.

On the face of it, we have ever more sophisticated technology, becoming available to the majority of the population at affordable prices. It will make our lives easier and therefore increase our ability to enjoy life more......or will it?

George Orwell wrote a book called 1984, where the technology was very sophisticated and available to the majority of the population, but the quality of life started to suffer because of it.

I don't know that I would be happy with my car insurer, or any other body, watching my every move.
As soon as the technology is exploited by organisations or "Thought Police", it starts to lose some of it's attractiveness.
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Joined: Jan 04, 2006
Posts: 9323
Location: Durham, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think too much information can be a bad thing. Information about safer roads will mean more people will use those routes and therefore turn them into more congested, busier and more dangerous roads. Since IQ Routes was announced by TomTom i wondered, if enough people buy an IQ Route equipped Sat Nav will the "best route" from A to B change every couple of months as people shift from one route to another and back again....

Telling a driver where it's safe to park means thieves equipped with a (stolen) Sat Nav can tell where the Police will concentrate, where the "competition" will be "working" and the areas where people will park more expensive cars as they are being told to avoid another area. On top of that there is a danger of complacency when someone leaves a car in a "Safe Area".

People might use the information when considering where to buy a house. You move into an area because it has a low crime rate and there is a quiet road to work nearby. 12 months later your car has been broken into for the 3rd time this month and it now takes you twice as long to get to work because everyone knows about "that quiet road" into town....

I'm all for things such as fuel prices, car park space availability, cinema times etc (as i believe the US MSN/TMC receivers already do) if it can be accurate and done in (near) real time, but all this labelling and obsession with statistics leaves me cold.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Too Much Info is Bad Reply with quote

Definitely agree with this point- particularly when we're looking at such small devices. Quality is going to be much more important on small devices. We simply don't have enough time when on the road to search for information on small devices. Further, it's fine searching on a 17" screen but not on a 4" screen so I think the whole www experience has to change to be less about 'search' and more about 'present'. More about audio and less about text.
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