Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Power of One: Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe

International Markets
In his book “Digital Disruption”, James McQuivey talks about the new Power of One. He argues that historically the “power of the industrial economy was achieved by scale” – business economics growing proportionally to the number of employees. However, he now proposes that “it is no longer true that size of company matters” because individuals within an organisation can achieve major impact in new markets through the use of digital tools and by exploiting digital platforms.
The mobile app marketplaces are examples of these enabling platforms. They are business democratisers; providing SMEs like Linknode with the same ‘shop window’ as the biggest multinational for our solutions. Sure the advertising budgets are different but the ability to reach an audience with low costs and speed of delivery are unprecedented.

The big-big picture does not change – for Facebook and Google to become truly Global the corporate structure and employee count had to grow. The most widely recognised commercial brand symbols on Earth are still Coca-Cola and McDonalds (appearing alongside Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft in the latest 2013 Interbrand results). But upstarts like (11 people, $60m, Facebook 2011), Waze (110 people, $1.3bn, Google 2013) and Chomp (20 people, $50m, Apple 2013) are small fish fulfilling big appetites.

In 2012 a BBC article claimed that (due to US export restrictions) there were now only two countries in the world without sales of Coca-Cola (but undeniably still with a brand recognition and awareness). So how does Linknode, a company with approximately 0.001% of the value of Coca-Cola, (but with the Power of One) compare to this? Not bad actually…
In terms of population the CIA World Factbook puts the world population at a little over 7-billion. Linknode have had downloads from 146 countries representing over 6.6-billion people (94%). Even more staggering is that when comparing the country reach against GDP we are present in almost the 98th percentile. Can you imagine what it would have taken to achieve that before the Internet?

These figures from our company are, of course, without consideration of ability to pay, demographics of mobile phone ownership or accounting for some discrepancies in political boundaries and state change, but I think they prove a point that the Power of One is significant disruptor in the digital economy.

For reference, these are the counties served by distribution in which we have not had a download – I would be very interested to hear if other independent developers (ie not creating apps for global brands) have reached these targets. Perhaps they are just not served by mobile phone partners of Nokia and Microsoft?

Belize, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Faroe Islands, Fiji, Gabon, The Gambia, Greenland, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Lesotho, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Zambia.

This is based on Linknode’s Windows Phone country downloads (146) against the potential market defined by the marketplace. Since we last ran the analysis 6-months ago we have reached over 40 new countries from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.

AGI and FOSS4G 2013

Geospatial Conference Season

September, or Maptember as it was termed this month, was open season for geospatial conferences – and in more ways than one.
Earlier, the Open Street Map ‘State of the Map’ was held in Birmingham and there were at least 10 other events nationally. For Linknode it was a return to Nottingham in 2013 for a double-bill of the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity conference and exhibition, followed by the Free and Open Source for GIS (FOSS4G) gathering. Both at the East Midlands Conference Centre.

AGI GeoCommunity
The API this year was branded ‘Open for Business’ – a great name if ever there was one. However it was not apparent from the keynotes or presentations that I saw where the emphasis on either ‘open’ or ‘business’ was. I was struck, walking around the exhibition how little innovation there seems to be in “GIS” at the moment and every stand appeared to be another variant on a web mapping platform – mostly from proprietary vendors. Sure there are more Cloud-based services and Nokia’s “here” maps were a welcome addition but I feel that 25 years on from The Chorley Report, and with the AGI reaching it’s own quadranscentennial milestone next year, the AGI needs to demonstrate that GIS is a significantly innovating industry.

The last FOSS4G conference I attended was in Cape Town in 2008 and the most significant difference from then (apart from the weather, African culture, oceanic port city and Table Mountain) was the growth in attendees. Almost 900 came from around the world to the UK where Steven Feldman formally opened proceedings on Thursday morning.
This was no British AGI meeting! Within minutes there were hats, profanities and karaoke with a really up-beat attitude and positivity. It was difficult to believe it was the same “industry” (discuss) as the previous day.
But Open is still Business and with statistics running into the hundreds of billions of Euro saved by the use of Open Source in Europe, with over half of Europe (by GDP or population) mandating the use of Open Source in legislation and with an evidently active and proactive community we are glad to be part of.

Linknode are involved in Open in many ways:

  • Open Source Development – code contributions and sponsorship of projects
  • Creation of OSGeo Solutions – on platforms (MapGuide, FDO, CS-Map)
  • Newsgroup and Discussion Forum – submissions and responses
  • Testing – early release adoption for validation
  • Development Platforms – Xamarin underpins our mobile development
  • Use of OS OpenData – creating economic value from Ordnance Survey GB data

We will be publishing a link to the presentations in due course.

Update: (2 October 2013)
Downloads are now available (as a shortened version of the live presentation without video) on the Linknode resources page.

Climate 2020 Group Lecture

2020 Climate Group Lecture Series

Last Wednesday evening, one of the last warm September evenings, I attended second of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group lecture programmes at St. Paul’s and St. George’s Church in Edinburgh presented by Samantha Barber and Dave Gorman.

Stephen Belcher, Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre spoke first with the facts regarding climate science and it’s relation to the weather. There is no doubt that the world is warming and it is statistically probable (9-out-of-10) that this is due to human activity, based on IPCC observations since 1850.
With this as a baseline, we can then start to expect the extremes – the wet 2012 and the warm 2003 will become the norm – however there remains a 30% change that there will be cold winters and wet summers which is a high probability within the trend. Understanding the nature of vulnerability and risk is the vital step in preparing for resilience.

Following Stephen was Professor James Curran, the Chief Executive of SEPA.
James’ talk reiterated the facts with a focus on atmospheric CO2: with planetary values at over 400ppm (by far the highest in recent millennia of history), still rising and with a risk of increasing rates of change through positive-feedback within this centuary the effects are not only for the next generations to deal with.

The discussion panel provided an informed and balanced debate including the speakers above plus Alex Hill (Met Office Chief Advisor), Peter Lederer CBE (Chairman of Gleneagles Hotels Ltd), Ian Marchant, Professor Pete Smith (Science Director of Scotland’s Climate Change Centre of
Expertise), Paul Wheelhouse MSP (Minister for Environment and Climate Change) and Professor Sue Christie (Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Environment Link). The MSP gave closing remarks and helped round the discussion on the challenges of political leadership and policy, combined with the ability to react and change in the commercial sector and individual responsibility of the wider population.

The 2020 Group is not purely a vehicle for doom though – after Ian’s insights on the stage I found a piece of brilliantly titled writing explaining how with some alternative thinking our natural resources can make a significant difference: A Blog on Bogs

Update: (25 September 2013)
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released part of its six-yearly update on the state of the Earth’s climate. Now, rather than the 90 percentile figure referenced above, the figure is that there is a 95% (19-out-of-20) certainty that humans are the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s. For a complete summary and links to the report see the BBC synopsis below:
BBC – UN climate report: Key findings

VentusAR v1.1 Released

VentusAR v1.1 for IPad has been released!

We have updated VentusAR, our Visualization system for Windfarm planners. Version 1.1 has been updated and is now available for download from the app store.


New features included in this release are

  • Improved compass heading
  • Added a new terrain service: OS Terrain 50 & allow you to choose to use that or Panorama
  • Flyout Panel Improvements: Added distance to nearest turbine, FOV and angle
  • Identify a turbine by clicking on it
  • Allows base map to be displayed on the terrain in My view
  • More precise height look up for heights not on a data point
  • Improved usability of the open / close buttons for the flyout panel

Full release notes are available from here