Yes indeed, data is still king and there is opportunities abound for savvy developers who can be innovative and target a select audience or business segment. The GIS community is ripe with developers and clever companies, many of whom have access to a wealth of spatial data holdings, many of these data products are hard to find and very valuable to many businesses.. what’s key is how a data product is packaged.
Case in point, just today Yardi Systems announced today that it has acquired PropertyShark, creators of PropertyShark.com, a popular real estate data website. Yardi acquired the New York-based company to integrate deep property data into the Yardi suite of real estate investment management and property management software. As an example, check out their residential property suite… no rocket science here, rather, some fine data packaged in a nice suite with a simple UI… keep it Simple!
This reminds me of a company I used to be familiar with almost a decade ago. The company developed a simple ArcVIew-based system and sold not only a rich dataset (compiled from numerous public data sources) and then bundled it with ArcVIEW (making a few $$ off software sales in the process) but the kicker was the data… in this case it was a comprehensive dataset of all the cell tower locations in the US along with a few attributes. It was very simple, served a a target demographic, and made a TON of $$$.
I get so frustrated seeing the incredible talent, the amazing data products, and the impressive developer community in our industry, yet sometimes it’s the simplest apps, services, and datasets that can make you hugely successful. Mobile is HUGE and there’s amazing opportunities in that space. Hopefully we will start seeing some impressive data-rich mobile apps rolling out for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android users… they don’t have to be a “GIS” product, rather, the Geo resides in the background, driving apps that consumers will crave. If a developer can SELL more than 600,000 iPhone farting apps then I can’t help but wonder what kind of opportunities lie ahead for Geo Technology companies that can offer up useful apps that solve real problems for people and business!
Finally, keep in mind that getting attention for your app or business plan is much like selling your home:
- Make a great first impression and have great curb appeal
- Get rid of the clutter (ie. Keep the UI Simple)
- Know who you’re selling to and target that audience
- Price your app or service accordingly (not everything has to be free!)