Recently, I was speaking with several people who have been in Business GIS since the beginning and we were talking about previous Business GIS conferences and why people stopped going to them.The consensus was that there was nothing new to see.After you had gotten past thematic maps and address matching, there was very little to cause you to return.
If we were to create such a gathering today, what could you offer that would make people want to come? I think there are several topics that would outline the placement of Business Geographics in the 21st century, create a wider understanding of how it all relates to 21st century business, and ultimately, see your role and the role of pertinent devices like the PDA.
In my conference, there would only be one track.It would be held somewhere that the airfares and hotels are cheap, so you could afford to go.It would last only a day and a half. All vendors would have the same size booth (and the same cost-cheap, so everybody could afford to come) and the vendors would be required to participate as a series of teams in a field exercise that put their applications to work.
Here are the sections topics (in order) that I would suggest.
- A History of the 20th Century Consumer - 21st Century Trends: Just how did we get to the present, what events conditioned the consumer and is the current retail environment really appropriate?
- Organizational Structures - Dynamic vs.Static - The Mobile Workforce: Is the typical business organization today the inverse application of a dump truck delivering a postage stamp, or has the organization evolved and just doesn't know it yet?
- The Future is Visualization: The promise of seeing things through maps has been generally unfulfilled, except by the Military.But there is more to visualization than enterprise distribution of thematic maps or pin maps of where your stores are.We should be able to see events unfold, view imagery, graphs and the temporal effect of business activities.
- Simulation - "What Ifs" and Visual Modeling: The ability to see what might be the case has usually been the province of seers and guys in white robes sitting atop some remote mountain peak.There are a number of applications available today that don't require embracing a strange philosophy or an extensive field trip to the hinterlands that can help see the future, providing to don't want to see too far out.
- Delivery Devices - Where the PDA fits in: Current trends are integrating the cell phone, pager, email service and the PDA.It is obvious that this should have been done in the first place.But, it is also true that after working out the solution, the problem is no longer as difficult.A large part of the 21st Century will be defined by the PDA, or what it becomes.If we could really understand that now, then we would know what technologies to embrace and which ones to avoid.
Tune in for a short history of the 20th Century consumer, next time on Simple Stuff.