I want a Segway Puma


I’ve been meaning to cancel my NZ Herald subscription, but every time I think about it, I find a nice little snippet that I might not have read, or at least till much later. In this morning’s paper (and online yesterday!) was news about a new version of the Segway designed to solve problems with urban traffic. Now first of all I have to say that I love Segways. I’ve only been on them twice and I am hooked.

A friend of mine, Steve Simms is involved with Segway Polo in New Zealand and makes me jealous every time I hear about the competition, which attracts tech leaders from around the world. I asked Steve how I could join in and he replied “Buy a Segway”. Unfortunately my wife didn’t like that idea very much.Anyway, if you go to YouTube and search for Segway Polo, you’ll find some examples.

Segway’s are used a lot in the US. When I was in Los Angeles earlier this year, I saw airport police similar to the ones in this image using Segways to get around the massive complex. I could have used one myself, having set off in the wrong direction to change airlines. If you are in Auckland and want to try one, go to Devonport Wharf and you can go for a 2-hour tour of Devonport and historic locations for only $75, cut that in half for US dollars.

So what caught my attention this morning was a story about the new Segway PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) which is a 2 man Segway with little trainer wheels on the front for safety and a roof that looks a bit like a roll cage. Looking like something out of a futuristic Science Fiction movie, this is for real. Once again an example of Science Fiction becoming reality, I guess its about this time that I appreciate the value of all those It is designed to haver a range of around 55 km at 55km an hour according to the NZ Herald. On the site I found that it also has features such as regenrative breaking, which means that it uses the inertia from stopping, to help charge the batteries. I’m not sure where the rest of the story came from because it wasn’t mirrored on the Segway page, but it said that it could ultimately drive itself using GPS and by monitoring traffic around it, being able to stop in a hurry if there is an incident ahead of it.

Given that I’m into LBS, I had a couple of issues with that concept. It would work if there were roads or paths that were only to be used by Segways but otherwise there could be a fatal flaw, because the concept of vehicles driving themselves and being aware of other vehicles (which will definitely happen one day) will only work if all the vehicles on the same stretch of road also carried the same technology. In New Zealand, the new RapidcV that GeoSmart is driving around New Zealand could certainly provide the data that would support this type of technology, because it is gathering full road and lane information nationwide at sub 20 cm accuracy. What is also nice is that as well as camber information it is also gathering inclination data, which could be used to identify routes that would support the Segway by identifying the range based on hills it has to climb up and downhill where it can recharge itself.

Anyway, bottom line, I want one:)

Mobile Marketing and LBS


So a couple of night’s ago I was at the NZ Wireless and Broadband’s Forum’s Wireless Wednesday. I was there to pre announce a Location Based Services application development competition. If you have read my Bio, you will be aware that I was a founding member of this organisation in New Zealand and the first elected President. I still remember the day we were working on a name for our monthly get togethers and I came up with Wireless Wednesday. Well the name has stuck and Steve Simms, the current president said that there have now been around 163 of them!

I haven’t been to the Forum for a while because it wasn’t relevant to my current activities, but with this upcoming competition and a new focus on bringing LBS into the real world, things are going to change.

What was really cool for me is that it is around 10 years since the Wireless Data Forum (as we were called then) launched it’s first developers competition for wireless and mobile applications. Even more so was the coincidence that this week’s excellent presentation was made by Ghanum Taylor of The Hyperfactory. The Hyperfactory won that first competition all those years ago. At the time they were an enthusiastic family group, Derek and Geoffrey Handley and a few other people who were equally passionate about the potential of mobile cellular technology.

These guys never wavered from their passion and commitment and I think it is worth a mention that passion imho is the single most important factor in their rise to success. They worked tirelessly and dragged the advertising and direct marketing industries, kicking and screaming into the future.

Just like many other technologies I enjoy, the market has slipped into the mass adopter phase without anyone noticing. If you saw a txt to win coupon on a product, you would simply txt the coupon number to a short code today and think nothing of it. LBS marketing is coming big time.

I’m not going to talk about their campaigns, because they can do it far better than I. Just go to their website and it is full of video’s and campaign success stories.

I didn’t start this blog as a kudos story for The Hyperfactory, but I do think that they can take some credit for helping to change the face of tomorrow’s advertising world. Check out a few of these names and I’ll wager (their first application concept was designed to allow people to bet against each other at sporting events via their mobiles) that you have seen or participated in one of their mobile campaigns:

  • Coca Cola
  • Nivea
  • Adidas
  • Vodafone
  • Motorola
  • Tylenol
  • Kellogs
  • Jim Beam, and the list goes on.

I’m not big on advertising. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to TVC’s at all, with rare exceptions like the Vodafone commercial where the guy folds up his life and puts it in his pocket (I really like the song and the dobro guitar) or the new Ford adverstisement where all the instruments in the orchestra are made of car parts.

In general, I hardly ever read print ads. I read a book during the TV commercials and these days rarely listen to broadcast radio as I am educating and updating myself in podcasts. Advertising is creeping surrepticiously into podcasts, in fact there are companies specialising in ads for podcats, but they tend to be well targetted which means that I am probably interested in the products, or I can fast forward my iPod anyway.

Anyway, watch this space for news about an exciting new competition in New Zealand for LBS Applications.

While this blog is starting to get a good following, I would love to get more readers and encouraging me to keep writing. If you feel that my blog is interesting I would be very grateful if you would vote for me in the category of best blog at the NetGuide Web Awards. Note that the form starts each site with www whereas my blog doesn’t and is of course https://luigicappel.wordpress.com.

Thanks so much for your support