Thursday, August 07, 2008

3 Other ways to use your Snapper Card

I now have my Snapper Card and eagerly waiting to use it on the bus for the first time.

I still believe that Micropayments are due some further disruption where time and convenience would benefit from a payment card. My take on three candidates:

1. Taxi payment - not really a micropayment as typically fares will exceed $10 but this is included due to convenience. In a society where cash is no longer king you still need some to pay for your taxi home. You have the option of a credit card but you can't use EFTPOS. An ideal payment method would be the Snapper Card if the technology could be successfully integrated with the taxi itself. An extension of this would be a general rollout of GPS into cabs to help the drivers navigate around Wellington. If you combine GPS and Snapper properly you have a predictive cost tool based on point A to point B by road.

2. The cable car - in many ways integrated into the Wellington transport sphere enabling payment by Snapper must be a logical conclusion. I'm sure it's just a matter of time. As already posted here makng the GPS data from the buses available would be a real value added service. Make that available as a screen inside the cable car and allow commuters to see if they are able to connect to their bus service when they reach the bottom.

3. Short term parking - an ideal target for micropayments. Today you can request to have the parkign charges added to your Vodafone post-paid bill. This is fine if you're using post-paid but is a fire and forget service that you delay the payment for. If left in an uncontrolled way you could well get a nasty surprise when you get your phone bill at the end of the month. Allowing Snapper to be used to pay for parking still makes it a cashless transaction but gives the control to the consumer as they gt real time updates to their Snapper balance.

Monday, August 04, 2008

3 Things....New Zealand could do with Google Maps

A couple of weeks I took myself along to a seminar hosted by Google "Google in the Public Sector".

They gave a run down of how government bodies across Asia Pacific are starting to use Google products. Of particular interest to me was the use of Google Maps integration.

I have drawn on the idea before in some of my discussions for the Techdirt Insight Community but the seminar got me thinking about specific application to New Zealand.

1. Snapper Mapper:

Snapper is the new RFID stored valued card that can be used on Wellington's Buses and Trains. The system uses GPS to keep track of the charging zone for the payment. An outward facing use for this would be to show which routes are now Snapper'd and of those where the bus currently is. Overlay this on Google Maps and you've given your customers a real time view of which bus they can use Snapper on and where the bus is. Good news for commuters looking to plan their journey.

Here is an example of what is achievable, real time Train data feed for Zurich.

2. Parking saturation:

Wellington has parking problems, there's no hiding from it. However what if you could save time by avoiding the saturated areas. This article from Technology Review got me thinking about mapping sensor data from the parking spaces in and around Wellington CBD. If it was displayed as a general heat map then when you're on the way in you could avoid the red zone and head to alternative parking that is still cool to the touch.

3. RV Heatmap:

House prices in New Zealand and influenced by the Rateable Value (RV). As a potential buyer I would be interested to see how housing prices are trending by area.

Something similar to House Price Maps would be a useful insight on where to buy (or not).

Sunday, August 03, 2008


This year's Olympics should be the best ever for coverage.

Fring are looking for onsite commentators and as a means to encourage people are offering a 3.5G phone as your reporters tool.

I hope that this will be the games of the micro blog. The potential for services like Twitter or Jaiku to open up access to the games in a way never seen before is encouraging.

Essentially there are three dimensions to the games:

  1. Nation
  2. Event
  3. Athlete
Typically broadcast of the games ha content defined by the nation. The USA channels closely follow the USA squad, the same for UK, NZ Australia etc. This is targeted at the national pride.

For those people who are actively engaged in an event themselves, marathon, it's the event that is king. There will still be an element of "my country" but this is equally balanced by "my sport".

The final element is the followers of a specific athlete. Friends, family and fans may elect to follow all of the events surrounding a person. From living in the Olympic village, training the event itself and the reactions after the event.

This is where Web 2.0 could crack open the Olympics and allow unprecedented access.

The biggest beneficiaries would be the minor countries and the minor events.

How much coverage do you think the Cambodian runner Hem Bunting will get normally? or even the Cambodian team.

Minor events that do not normally get prime time coverage (Fencing, Modern Heptathlon etc) could be covered for the fans.

It's the natural evolution of broadcasting where content is moved from a push to a pull model. Narrowcasting of the Olympics and the success of it (or not) could be great insight to the future of content publishing at such events.