You know when you're playing a video game and you've got a little mini-map of the area you're in down in the bottom right corner of the screen? Some games might even have big yellow arrows projected right onto the level, directing you to the next save point or boss fight. This makes it a lot easier to get around Liberty City than guessing your way down back alleys and side streets based on landmarks and confusing road signs. Somehow, your HUD knows when the trains are going to arrive, where the nearest vital resources are, and whether or not there are any villagers to talk to in the next area. If only getting around in real life was that easy, right?
Well, if Urban Engines have anything to say about it, it might be. We're talking about augmented reality apps that can point you right where you need to go, and let you know everything that you need to know, from whether or not there's a cab within a block or two of you, to whether or not that restaurant across the street is too crowded to grab a table right now.
After sitting down with futurist and IoT expert Jason Hope, he says that's one application, anyways:
“What we're really talking about here is a whole new dimension to data. Enough beating around the bush: Urban Engines is gearing up to release a mapping service that combines all the functions of Google Maps with data analytics to collect information and deliver results based on time-space coordinates.” Said Hope.
“The free app actually uses the compass and accelerometer built into your smartphone. It's not plugged into a supercomputer somewhere in a Harvard research lab or Google HQ, our phones will do all of the work.” He continued. “When we connect to the cloud, we'll be able to map our walk home based on something like foot traffic. If you have to head home late at night, for instance, you can take a street with a lot of people on it. If you're trying to avoid having to talk to anyone, you can use the app to find deserted streets."
Shiva Shivakumar, founder of Urban Engines, calls it the "Internet of moving things." You could coin a lot of new terms for this type of data: crowdtracking, street-data, fourth-dimensional-analytics. The bottom line is that it's opened up a whole new toybox for developers to play with.
Let me know your thoughts about fourth dimensional data, and the “Internet of moving things”