Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Web Innovation & Creative Day - Geomedia-fying the Web

Geomedia-fying the Web

The Panel discussion on Geomedia on the Web was moderated by Naoyuki Seki from the GeoMedia Summit organising committee, and the panelists were Takehiko Murata from Yahoo Regional Services (ex. president of Mapion), and Gen Miyazawa, president of Cirius Technologies.

First they went through the history of maps and online and mobile mapping:

Ancient Prehistory - maps are used for communication - perhaps even before language
1997 - first free maps online - Mapion
1999 - mobile web begins - imode, ezweb, jsky
2002 - mobiles with GPS - gps sites and games
2005 - Google maps - free to use API

Murata-san said he considered the most significant recent milestones in the mapping industry were in 1997, where Mapion made maps free to use online, and 2005, when Google made maps free to "re-use" online. This has obviously changed the came in the mapmaking industry, and he recalled being berated by an analogue map producer at an industry party in the early days for giving his product away online.

The discussion covered the market for location aware media services, and Murata-san noted that while the current market for such services online is about 5 trillion yen, the paper based advertising market for local services (flyers, newspaper inserts, etc.) is 145 trillion yen, so there is still a huge amont of market that could potentially be changed to digital.

Miyazawa-san added that because many local businesses are family-run, often the only time to change their advertising methods (ie. move them online) was when the older generation passed away, and the son inherited the business. (Perhaps there is a less drastic - and more scalable - way to introduce technology, no?! A Chumby on the cash register? ... make it so, dear reader!)

Of the sessions I saw, Miyazawa-san's talk was the only hint of Japan taking it's vision to the world (expect for perhaps abusing virtual maids!) - his company is taking their AdLocal serice to the US. AdLocal is a very cool mash-up of the affiliate model and location awareness. It allows local advertisers to bid higher for CPC, the closer the user is to their physical location. Obviously the logic being that someone reading your ad within 100 metres of your shop is more likely to go there - and therfore of higher vaue - than someone 1 kilometre away.

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