Mobile, Mapping and LBS: News from the front

This week might be a short one, but it hasn’t been short on interesting industry announcements. The biggest of which being that Microsoft has recruited OpenStreetMap (OSM) founder Steve Coast to join their Bing Maps Mobile team as Principal Architect.

The geo industry has been buzzing about the news — Coast being a towering figure in the mapping world and one of the most prominent advocates for open data. Microsoft seems to be increasingly interested in challenging Google’s map offerings and building up its own arsenal. In August, Bing added an OSM layer to its maps and is now allowing its aerial photos to be used by the OSM community. Not surprising since the future looks bright for the industry as a whole, especially as location continues to increase in importance. There are a number of reactions to the news worth reading, including on All Points, James Fee, GISuser, and ReadWriteWeb.

In other news, Wi-Fi provider JiWire has acquired NearbyNow which, paraphrased by TechCrunch, “allows brands to show products within an app or an ad and confirm availability of the product in the actual store. Users can also reserve the product in the store for pickup.” JiWire is making bullish moves into the LBS sector, and is trying to move beyond check-ins by combining location-based advertising with merchandise platforms. A report released by JiWire last week seemed to pre-empt the deal, showing off high numbers of LBS usage during the holiday season.

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Micello Maps: Your Go-To Holiday Shopping App

Micello’s Android/iPhone application was featured in an article by Patrick May in this morning’s San Jose Mercury as a great app for shoppers during the holiday season. Micello Maps currently holds over 2000 maps throughout the country, with many more on the way. Search for products, navigate and find your way around confusing shopping malls, using our intuitive and clutter-free interactive maps. From the article:

“Ankit Agarwal, CEO of Sunnyvale-based Micello, says his app does for the inside of shopping centers what Google maps has done for the world outside. It’s fairly simple — sort of an interactive map that allows you to locate products inside a mall and then get walking directions to your destination. It’s easy to use, with a clean interface that removes much of the aggravation shoppers experience as they navigate through the increasingly cluttered realm of the modern shopping center.

‘You’re essentially carrying the mall directory in your pocket,’ says Agarwal.”

Read the full story.

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Most Important LBS Feature for Public Wi-Fi users? Store Location.

A survey on the uses of LBS by Wi-Fi provider J-Wire, found that 61% of respondents found store location to be the most important LBS feature:

Surprisingly, 89% of respondents reported that they would use some sort of LBS tool during the holiday shopping season — an enormous difference from the 4% reported in the latest Pew Survey. This actually makes sense –the vast majority of these users are traveling and are turning to public Wi-Fi over their mobile network. While traveling,  people need help searching for basic location information, especially store location information if they’re doing some shopping. You’ve got to find the store before you can shop there.

Read the full report here.

via Retailigence

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Micello Maps Special: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Ask someone under 30 if they’ve read the Harry Potter books and, most likely, you’ll get yes for an answer. It’s no surprise then that last week’s company lunch was full of talk about the upcoming seventh movie (to be released on 11/19). In fact, we got so excited that we decided to try something new: create a fictional map of the Hogwarts Castle.  It took some time and extra imagination, but as of tonight, Hogwarts stands to be explored in the Micello Maps application (iOS/Android), somewhere in the reaches of Scotland, bordering the shores of an icy loch. It’s like a Marauder’s Map for your smartphone (which I’m sure Harry would have appreciated.)

This is not only our first fictional map — it’s also our first published map in Europe. We’ve added navigation, but trust it at your own risk – the walls and staircases of Hogwarts are subject to random shifts. There are 10 castle levels filled with your favorite places and complete with nifty descriptions:

Snape’s Private Potion Store:

“Monkswood and wolfsbane, bezoars galore

Veritaserum and liquid luck in store

Rat tail, beetle eye, sopophorous bean

For any elixir or concoction you please

Gather your ingredients before class begins

Just don’t let Snape catch you breaking in!”

The Divination Tower:

“To sense more than just stars deep into the night

To decipher tea leaves and possess the Sight

Broaden your mind, you must look beyond

No use for textbooks or tricks of the wand

Does your Inner Eye See? Are you gifted inside?

Divination will lift you and open your eyes”

Here’s a screenshot of the ground floor as seen on an iPad:

We do want give credit to DeviantArt user Hogwarts-Castle for fabulous drawings of Hogwarts and the Harry Potter Wiki for many of the room descriptions. We also want to thank Anita Subramanyam, Chitra Subramanyam and Roma Parekh for helping us come up with a number of hidden gems.

Be sure to send us any feedback or ideas for room names! We would love to continue updating the map. And, finally, if you want your own Marauders Map, we’d love to map out your school for you!

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Events Galore on 11/17

Micello will be at a couple of events tomorrow:

CTO Prakash Narayan will be presenting at the TelecomCouncil’s Mobile Forum, as part of a panel discussing “hyperlocal” mobility. He will be joined by Mayank Mehta, Product Management Director at CoolIris, and Marcus Wandell, CEO of Antengo. The event is being held at Ericsson in San Jose, from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM and the panel will be starting at 9:45 AM.

Later in the day, both Prakash Narayan and Micello VP Business Anil Agarwal will be taking part in GIS Day 2010 at UC Berkeley’s Mulford Hall. They will be speaking about the importance of indoor maps from 5:30 to 6:00 PM.

Hope to see you there!

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Join Micello Tonight at the VC Taskforce Event

Micello CEO, Ankit Agarwal, will be speaking as a panelist tonight for the “Going Mainstream with Mobile Marketing” event put on by VC Taskforce. He will be speaking about the importance of location in the Mobile Marketing arena and the different levels at which consumers can be targeted.

Ankit will be joined by a number of other panelists, including Dhana Pawar, the co-founder of Mobmark; Deepak Thomas, General Manager at eBay Classifies; Iryna Newman, Head of Mobile Marketing for SendMe; and Michael Bayle, VP of Monetization and Marketing at Amobee. The event will be moderated by Stephen Burke, the VP of Mobile Strategy at Resource Interactive.

The panel begins at 7 p.m. tonight and will be discussing the latest trends mobile marketing and how they are helping to shape this nascent industry. Register here.

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Micello’s Gets a Perfect Score at #UTR’s Fast Pitch

You can watch all of the Fast Pitches from this year’s Under the Radar conference here, including the Micello pitch given by CEO Ankit Agarwal.

Micello was given a perfect score and was one of three finalists! Check out Mashable’s write-up of the event here.

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