What can I do? And how can I show it off?

SplashMaps proudly co-sponsor Geomob.  This month’s GeoMob was at the Travel Tech Lab.  The next (25th October) is at Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Hub. Join us! Free beer!

What can I do? And how can I show it off?

Geomob, the gathering of the finest geo-nerds in the UK, this week focused on the biggest questions, attracting the biggest investments to solve the greatest human needs.  The questions?  What can I do? And how can I show it off?

Our venue for the evening

We were hosted in the glamorous offices of the Travel Tech Lab once again, with Tower Bridge, the Thames and HMS Belfast for company. Perhaps a fitting background to consider those stuck for something to do in a new city and some attractive backdrops for all their films and photos? Each presenter offered their solution for these truly first world issues.  The best wins the coveted SplashMaps award!  This time the AtoZ London visitors SplashMap on a beautiful satin.

Geomob has clearly evolved.  All the concepts have all been presented before; exploiting geo to discover what’s on, what’s near and what’s cool is not at all new to geomobsters.  Normally the tech provokes great academic style questions, but the monetising is clean forgotten.  But the cycle at Geomob has moved on.  So what’s changed?

Looking Down on the Thames at Travel Tech Lab

Only the big stuff.

Like the good old days of Geomob, is profit just a distant desire?

All the presenters today could demonstrate their funky concepts in terms of significant investment and robust systems already in use by big named discovery systems (Kayak, Air BnB etc.).  Most were in “growth phase” which appears to mean swallowing vast amounts of investors’ money and someone else’s data.  Like the good old days of geomob profit is just a distant desire.  And bizarrely this seems to matter even less!

A show of hands for the best?

Personal Data Spaces

Breathtaking advancements are being made, but at what cost? All the apps appeared to exploit a lot of personal data to put tailored improvements to your social and travelling life (check this report I wrote for the European Commission which highlights the importance of considering Personal Data Spaces).  There was a nod toward the dangers of generating and exploiting personal data in Bubbl’s presentation, but really the overriding assumption appears to be that people will accept the loss of their privacy in return for a chance to randomly catch Maria Carey if she happens to be in the same town as you.

So here’s a brief on the great apps and inspirational presentations we saw today, together with their SplashMaps Hall-of-fame scores.  Scores match the show of hands.

Avuxi- Alexi Score: 10

The City according to your preferences?

Finding the best area in a city for what you want to do can be tricky using on-line mobile services.  The problem is that all the different social media networks define building usage in different ways.  The challenge is to make the definitions of building use relevant to the user for what they want to do.

Aimed at the business travel market the Avuxi app operates in a market where only 4% conversion is expected on travel sites like Trivago, Bookings.com etc..  Why?  People have unique reasons for going somewhere, unique budgets, unique preferences. So they need to search around a number of platforms to answer a complex query.  Avuxi’s system  creates heat maps based on what you want to do in the city (night life, history etc.).  You like night-life? The concentration of the best loved paces for that will show as a red blob.  Feedback on popularity of a venue via social media helps refine the model.

Getting ever more sophisticated, and already in use with travel booking system, Kayak, Avuxi is now looking at categorising more deeply; by nationality and even sexual orientation.  Their next target is Air BnB, so your choice of overnight stay could be much better tailored for you next time!

How big?  Avuxi already has 130 million venues in the system and takes 50,000 requests per second!  Commercially they charge the client 0.002c per user which is beginning to contribute a little revenue.  Further forward AR and audio guides using the system were demonstrated.  The Audio guide reminds me of Toursome (presenting at Geomob back in 2014).

Good news for the geeks?  Avuxi is recruiting soon!


Esplorio -Tim Fernando Score: 13 WINNER

Winner! Tim takes the SplashMaps AtoZ visitor map of London – Waistcoats available too!

Ever feel that people aren’t really getting how outstanding your trip to Lake Como was?  Esplorio may just make you whizz of the holiday slide show. The app creates on-line journals for journeys automatically.  It strings together a nice story using all the media and the geo-trace you leave from place to place.  It integrates with all the social platforms.

Backed by IAG, Traveltech Lab, Google, ESA and others, the problem they address is; it’s easy to record a picture, but it’s hard to get across the story.  GPS tracking without roaming in a low powered app is at the heart of the solution.

Tim was able to demo the app through his phone (risking your own tech always goes down well with this audience) and his own story of the “drone that got away”.  Take home message; neat app… but don’t let Tim fly your plane!  (Interestingly  I recognised the mountain he crashed into as Mt Bisbino, a foggy climb for me 25 years ago!  Looks like a scratchy climb today).

Looking forward, they plan to incorporate personal preferences to help work out exactly where you should go in the first place (targeting the same sort of companies as Avuxi).  Also Tim was able to demonstrate the dinky augmented reality output in time for the iOS11 release.

In the Q&A the audience identified that the challenge is to stop people dropping off from this sytem.  Tim’s solution is to exploit the myriad travel bloggers using multiple systems on various platforms.  If they use the Esplorio system, they may get their stories out a lot quicker, enjoy a revenue share and present their stories in a more engaging way.

Bubbl – Jo Eckersley 3

Marketing Technology; Geo is the holy grail!

Geolocation was presented as the ‘golden child’ for marketing technology.  Their Geofencing plug-in has been developed to create interaction (rather than selling/ advertising).  The geofencing app allows you to quickly define a physical area with a polygon.  This spatial zoning means you can then send relevant info to the right people at the right time in a defined space.

By focussing on “area” as the primary factor in driving messages to individuals, Bubbl toys with the potential of dealing with the backlash against the use of personal data collection.  Effectively Jo argues that interactions would be driven more by the coincidence of a person being in a place rather than through an intrusive analysis of backgrounds and purchasing preferences.  However, this all appeared to stack up nicely in an emergency situation, e.g. ‘everyone in this area run to the green exit’, but it’s a technology that is much more likely to be exploited in “MarTech” (I think that’s marketing technology) if combined with personal data e.g.

  1. you’re in this zone,
  2. within this zone there is a burger place,
  3. I know you buy burgers
  4. ‘hey Jim, isn’t it time you bought a Crusty Burger?’.

Just sayin’.

Certainly in marketing there is a legacy of complexity for these geolocation and fencing applications that makes them hard and expensive to maintain. I bet it keeps a few contractors from Geomob very happy.  Older systems are just part of a nest of complexity that causes systems to regularly fall over, for example another layer of complexity comes from the different operating systems (e.g. android vs iOS).

The plan for Bubbl is to have the most reliable platform for geofencing in support of “In the moment customer engagement”.  But as we’ve all seen, this will only happen if the technology is taken-up by exactly the companies exploiting our personal data right now (Google et al.)

Schedjoules – Rutiger Geelen  3

My route via customers’ shops to get to Geomob (Traditional Geo Tech?)

Scheduling and dairy apps are the way that organised people sort their lives out nowadays.  Schedjoules intends to make event discovery really easy so that all you need do is press a bare section in your weekly diary for it to become populated with a tailored list of opportunities based upon your preferences.  Exploiting common apps found in (car) infotainment and phone apps you use the calendar on your phone, tap into the bare bit (say 7pm on a Thursday) and it uses your location and content managed by Schedjoules to find things to do.

Operating at intersection or time, place and interests.  Aren’t they all?!

In the future, Rutiger points to predictive apps (for weather etc.) as the way ahead.


Illustreets  5

Before and after Crossrail

The Illustreets Publisher Platform allows companies to make their “own custom apps for consumption of geospatial insight.” Open in many aspects, it allows WMS and WFS end points and is generally compatible with most systems.  www.illustreets.com

The strong functionality was demonstrated with an accessibility analysis for the impact of the Cross Rail project in London.  There was a clear before/ after Cross Rail accessibility visualisation demonstrating the shifting “half an hour to Liverpool street” zones before and after the project.

The aims for illustreets seemed broader than other presentations today at Geomob.  They target companies that plan to make profits from their own data.


Kompas  6

Again solving the problem of where to go out of an evening!  Kompas pitches for unique experiences in the leisure world.  They operate in the “Proximity” market, currently sized as at 50bn$.

They had a nice focus on millennials as these 66% of these put more value on experience than material goods.

Kompas exploits machine learning, tracking, your dwell, personal information and place information to build profiles and make unique tailored recommendations.



Voila! Could you be the next to get one? Get your presentaions ready for October 25th!

So the era of the geo-app marches on.  The best ones are being bought up by now “establishment” players, so the business model is all about being “sticky” rather than making a profit in their own right.

The consequence for geomob (on this occasion) was that there was less technical talk for the audience to get their teeth into (presumably a lot is secret when playing with the big boys).

For me it was great!  I love marketing, and from a marketing perspective all 6 amazing examples we saw presented demonstrate geo-geek marketing as the providing the holy grail.

But just how happy are we all about surrendering our private data to answer the simple questions..

What can I do? And how can I show it off?


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