As one of organisers of Geomob, London's first quarterly meetup for geo/mobile developers and researches, I was very keen to check out Geomonday meets LBMA [event (http://geomondaymeetslbma.eventbrite.com/). More by luck than by design it turned out that I would be in Berlin at the time when the next one was up.
So, I'll spare you the suspense and just tell you that it was very good indeed!
Not that it is a complete surprise. After all, Berlin is not just a burgeoning start-up scene, but one with long-standing geo-pedigree. Burning platform or not, Nokia / Gate5 still casts a long shadow over the Berlin startup landscape. While the likes of Sklobbler are not as massive as Nokia they are none-less influential, sponsoring the likes of Wherecamp as well as GeoMonday / LBMA.
All this accounted for a well-attended event in very cool mobilesuite co-working space (think Google Campus, but without Google branding) with a great field of speakers:
- Komoot - sharing some of their insights around their revenue-model which is a freemium app + paid-for turn-by-turn navigation for each map.
Their service is pretty much what every OSM-cycling fanatic wants to build. The difference being that Komoot built a cashflow-positive business around it with about 2 million downloads (if I heard correctly).
Perhaps the most interesting nugget of information is that Komoot found that one-off purchase of a single activity track (i.e. a single map that also gives you turn-by-turn navigation) works better than offering a flat-subscription for accessing as many tracks as you can eat. Komoot's explanation was that telcos have turned off people from wanting subscriptions. I think that gym subscriptions are probably far more likely culprits.
- Adsquare - presented the basics of their location-based mobile audience targeting platform.
This is not a new problem and Adsquare are not the only ones tackling it. I gather PlaceIQ does much the same thing in the US and Locomizer are attacking the issue from London. However, the way Adsquare are going about the task is impressive, and they might just be onto something here.
Having started only about 12 months ago, the team is making great progress, albeit so far targeting only Germany. Scaling out to more countries will be a challenge, Adsquare CTO feels more in terms of data storage (incidentally on Postgres, Couchbase and increasingly around MongoDB) than in terms of compute capacity.
In my opinion, mobile ad targeting is a big and tough opportunity. Consolidation is inevitable, first within the European market, and then cross-atlantic too. Based on what I've seen, I would not be surpised to see Adsquare in the mix once the consolidation comes.
- WallDecaux - mainly showed that their are not just dumb location-based ad platform.
Unabashedly offline, unabashedly offline marketing, it's still great credit to WallDecaux that they are coming up with several interesting ways to turn billboards into an interactive experience.
Nadja, WallDecaux Digital Product Manager, also had the quote of the day with "Cameras on the
streets are a tough subject, everywhere outside the UK and
It is reassuring that at least some local governments are approaching mass-
surveillance with due caution, even when it does sound relatively innocuous
such as adding cameras for the sake of counting the footfall in front of the billboard. The offline-online intersection is very interesting one, even though it is fraught with difficulties. For more on those issues just scoot over to Adam Greenfield's blog, another ex-Nokia connection.
- Wheelmap.org - an excellent example of OSM-based community project adding simple, but very useful, accessibility assessment to OSM POIs.
It's all very inspirational, and not just because the heads are excellent presenters. Raul and Holger
can certainly teach a lot about how to run an open project such as this. For me, the quiet star of this presentation was OSM, which featured in four heavily in all but WallDecaux presentation tonight. As Raul rightly pointed out - many other accessibility projects go in vain as they are only funded for the fixed amount of time. By contrast, Wheelmap.org writes to OSM, thus leaving a far more persistent imprint.
The presentations were followed by a round-table discussion, unfortunately the
weakest part of the event. Opening up the discussion and using the presenters
as a discussion panel is great. Pushing generic startup questions along the
lines of "how do you deal with recruiting", not so much. I certainly felt that
a more pointed discussions of geo issues would have given more to the
Overall, it was a great meetup - well worth checking out if you're in town. The date for the next one is not up yet, but I gather it will happen sometime before the end of the year. If you're in Berlin, keep an eye on Geomonday blog or LBMA events page so you don't miss it.
If you're in London, don't miss next Geomob on 29th of October. Or the one after that in January 2014 . Or the one after that one...