New ways to use technology

Let’s face it. Physical maps are slowly becoming a thing of the past. With mobile and GPS technology, it is gradually becoming expected that the latest mobile devices will already have a map or navigation-style application. While I might be wrong about my initial assertions, physical maps still have a lot use in more remote travel areas as well for overseas destinations; I believe that digital navigation has definitely impacted on people’s usage of physical maps.

I can’t remember when the good ol’ map started losing popularity at my household, but it was probably as a result of my mother’s new obsession with the iPhone. Initially we used maps as a way to verify the less accurate smart-phone navigation; I remember the first map apps had some terrible inaccuracies. Eventually we started relying solely on smartphone navigation and now we use an app made by a company famous for making physical GPS devices. Recently our family from overseas visited and showed us the newest (it is nearly 2 years old now) navigation app that everyone in their country was using. My uncle was able to navigate his way around places he’s never even been before faster than us locals, using the ‘Waze’ app.

This new app has opened up all kinds of ‘Waze’ of travel.

I don’t claim to be any kind of technology expert, nor that I know at all how Waze works. However from their product trailer as well as personal experience it seems like any other GPS app, but it also encourages users to actively interact with the app; alerting of traffic situations and changed conditions, near by services and recommending the best or fastest routes. This 2-way style of communication between the app and users allows for an evolving map system (I hesitate to use the word living) with greater interactivity and potential accuracy then physical maps of old as well other GPS systems. Initial usage, I have to admit, was slower and slightly unreliable, however over the course of a few short months we’ve noticed an increase in accuracy; I am almost certain this is due to an more users contributing and interacting with each other.

Waze follows in the vein of similar technologies like Uber, Tesla and Square; the principles of which I have covered before. These apps and technologies allow user creativity and interaction and ultimately improve the quality of the initial service provided. It has been stated that perhaps this is the new style of business that will prevail and outcompete legacy-style business models. It is obvious that this style of business operation can create successful products; e.g.: Twitter. Aaron Dignan states that if the same approach to creative freedom can be applied in the workplace, similar success can be gained by the company. Perhaps the best part about this style of technology is that we don’t know what the possibilities can be. Any aspect of the driving experience could be potentially included into a Waze-style app; green lights that aren’t long enough, rating routes and stopover points even as a way for authorities to be updated on emergencies. When technologies act as the launch pad for creative input, further customisation or even the creation of newer, better things become possible.

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