The recent AIGS Progress Africa Conference, which focused strongly on the theme of mobility and its impact on both business and technology, introduced the waytag to fellow Progress software developers and business leaders. This free permanent “address” moves with users wherever they are and represents a new era of location-aware marketing and development.
“Mobility may be the most important trend affecting businesses today,” says Richard Firth, of !Waytag. “But very companies are effectively operating in that space, globally or locally. We wanted to create a tool that would allow companies to speak to individuals on the move and optimise their customer service according to their location.”
Waytags move with users wherever they are. This allows a user to create a waytag (e.g. !BobMobi) and then update their location to wherever they are. If Bob, for example, wants to meet someone at his favourite restaurant, they can simply look at his updated waytag and meet him there. “This makes the app extremely useful in terms of things like road safety,” Firth says. “Someone that has broken down in an unknown area can simply update their waytag, and help can find them easily.”
Firth emphasises that the application has strong security measures in place. “You create it, you name it, you update it, you can delete it and you can choose who to share your waytag with,” he says. “You are always 100% in control of the information associated with your waytag.”
Firth believes that waytags are a lot more practical than other geographic tracking systems. “GPS systems, for example, are dependent on a house numbering system that dates back to 1512. That system hasn’t evolved at all in 500 years…the digitalisation of that information is done by 3rd parties who have no incentive to ensuring that the information is correct and up to date. Not to mention that countries like Ghana do not even make use of house numbers or street names…this allows the creation and sharing of accurate, single word references that can indicate where a business or person is located.”
The application creates several new business opportunities that have been previously unexplored. “Delivery companies waste millions of rands going to the wrong addresses. This eliminates that. Similarly, using a simple waytag instead of a complicated address saves time. A company, such as a pizza delivery company, can know exactly where the correct customer is and can cater to that…and vice versa. Customers can search their “favourites” folder and find restaurants or businesses close to their current location, and then receive instant directions. Even if an office has moved, customers can find the company using their waytag.”
Rick Parry, of AIGS, believes that waytag represents a fundamental shift in the marketplace. “Part of the reason software platforms such as ours are catering for mobility is because the geospatial market is the next big frontier, our next big mind shift. I believe it will impact us the same way the virtual revolution (i.e. websites and the Internet) once did,” he says.
Firth believe that the potential of spatial information is still largely untapped. “There are companies who operate in the geospatial marketplace, but there is no sharing of data or collaboration. We’re trying to solve that issue. Businesses need to know where their customers are because their location impacts their needs. You can tailor-make your marketing message to customers according to their exact, up-to-date location.”
!Waytags can be created for free on waytag.com.