Top Ten Things I Learned at LI 2008

By Joe Francica

Location Intelligence 2008 provided a glimpse into some of the technology trends shaping the industry. Conference Chairman Joe Francica provides a quick takeaway on his observations of the event and the conversations he had with attendees. The conference took place last week in Santa Clara, CA. Expect further coverage later this week.

10. Location-based marketing, for trade shows at least, can passively capture information otherwise missed from standard lead management systems. The use of active RFID tags and ultra wideband sensors can capture the "who" and "how long" of people that are standing in front of your booth on a trade show floor, and you don't even have to talk to them. The Ubisense/Fish Software demonstration of RFID provided a context for better understanding the use of sensor technology where before I could only read about it.

9. Location-based advertising's new generation of tools is providing context to local search so more appropriate ads can be served to mobile handset users. And a more immersive geospatial and contextual experience will eventually serve users of local search to better help to retrieve information.

8. The enterprise technology vendors (read: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft) are still having difficulty getting the word out about the benefits of spatial data management. Most of the panelists in our Location Intelligence Enterprise session felt they were still "pushing" the concept of spatially enabling databases to prospects and customers rather than seeing the scales tipped toward more customer demand for the technology.

7. Photosynth is pretty cool. You need to look into this application from Microsoft. Adena Schutzberg posted information about it in APB two years ago but basically it takes your digital photos that have an overlapping portion of an adjacent photo and finds common points from each to generate a "surround" view of the place you photographed.

6. Microsoft is not only providing better texturing and resolution to the 3D building models in Virtual Earth 6.1 but they want to eventually capture all of the world's buildings. And if that wasn't enough, the company is using close range photogrammetry to survey the inside of tourist attractions, like museums, to produce incredibly detailed representations of places you would love to visit but can't get there yourself.

5. Is the inclusion of a map as another graphic element of a business intelligence solutions dashboard no more important than a pie chart? Does the visual impact of understanding geospatial relationships cause action or yawns? I'm not sure we've adequately sold the CIO or business line managers on the benefits yet.

4. I'm convinced thereare three market sectors forming the confluence of location intelligence: Location-based networks, both social and commercial; mobile location services, including device hardware; and location-enabled enterprise applications such as business intelligence. I'm less sure of the catalyst that is necessary to bring them all together.

3. Our distinguished speakers were indeed visionary. They clearly helped to articulate a good story for their respective companies and showed how to deploy location technology in unique ways. Our challenge for 2009 is to get more of them. Congratulations to Ceri Carlill of BP. Our attendees found him most engaging ... his British accent gave him that "touch of class."

2. Sometimes you never know if you have been successful in planning an educational experience for your attendees until one CEO comes up to tell you that each time he has come to LI it's have been a "company changing experience."

1. It's the technology champion, stupid ... not the technology ... we just need more of them to tell us how they are implementing LI at their companies.

Published Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Written by Joe Francica



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