A Discussion with Holly Ross, Vice President, Sales, Applied Spatial Technology

By Hal Reid

Earlier this month, Spatial Insights and Applied Geographic Solutions (AGS) announced the formation of a new company, Applied Spatial Technology (AST), to market and further develop Freeway. Freeway creates simulated drive time polygons (polygons that represent how far you can drive in a certain amount of time from a specific point) that can be accessed by applications. Drive time areas are important to both retail developers and marketers as a model of “the reach” into a geography that is adjacent to a source of products or services.

AST is an extension of both the parent company, AGS, and its new partner, Spatial Insights. AGS is a well-known provider of demographic and related data, and Spatial Insights is a pioneering innovator in the application of “business geography.” Both companies are strong in their own rights (data and applications) and can bring substantial resources to this new entity. I talked to Holly Ross, vice president of sales of the new company.

Hal Reid (Reid): AST appears to have been formed to market Freeway. Since Freeway is very successful – most business-oriented products on the market use it - what is the logic behind spinning it off into its own company?

Holly Ross (Ross):
AST has been formed not just to market Freeway, but in fact to revitalize and expand the product substantially. It is AST’s intention to considerably enhance Freeway by adding a premium version, which will include, among other things, the ability for developers and end users to load their own street networks for other countries.

Reid: The press release indicates that this new company will produce other products for spatial analysis. Are there additional press releases we should be looking for?

Yes, but our first focus is on Freeway. After that, we will turn our attention to additional analytical products that will work in a similar manner to Freeway, that is, embedded modules that existing business geographic products can employ with minimal effort.

Reid: Freeway has historically been a database-driven product. Will this new venture move it to more of a road network-based product?

At the present time, no, although this is certainly on the discussion table. A road network-based product, while relying on many of the same core algorithms, is oriented toward a rather different market than is Freeway.

Reid: Freeway has been considered by many to be a standard in generating drive times for several years. Do you have an estimate of the number of users and number of companies that license Freeway?

We would estimate that at least 1,000 companies license the product.

Reid: What is the most important thing that you would like to convey to existing users of Freeway about how this change will affect the product?

For developers, the current update of Freeway includes no API changes and should be readily incorporated into systems. The premium product will undoubtedly require some changes, especially in order to incorporate new features. For end users, the new version of Freeway means an updated road database.

Reid: Are there any plans to enter the fleet management and/or in-car navigation systems markets with Freeway?

There are no plans at this time.

Published Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Written by Hal Reid

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