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7/24/2014
03:48 PM
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Google Maps Engine Gets Workforce Management Tool

Google Maps Engine Pro customers now have free access to Maps Coordinate to manage workers and share location information in real time.

 Government Data + Maps: 10 Great Examples
Government Data + Maps: 10 Great Examples
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Businesses and individuals using Google Maps Engine Pro for collaborative map creation now have access to a workforce management tool at no extra charge.

Maps Engine Pro subscribers can now use Google Maps Coordinate to manage workers and share location information in real time. The addition of this dynamic data visualization and location-based communication to Maps Engine Pro leaves the subscription price unchanged: $5 per user per month, or $50 per user per year.

Those already paying for Google Maps Coordinate will be switched to a Maps Engine Pro subscription and will see a significant price reduction. When Google Maps Coordinate was launched in June 2012, it cost $15 per user per month. Following the introductory period, the price was raised to $24 per user per month. Those paying for both services should cancel their now-redundant Coordinate subscription and contact Google support to receive a pro-rated refund.

[How to find sick populations in remote areas? Read GIS Technology Helps Eradicate Polio.]

Google Maps Coordinate was designed to help companies dispatch and manage mobile workers. The service supports three roles: dispatcher, worker, and administrator. Through an Android app, an iOS app, or a Web browser, a dispatcher can create jobs, create teams, check workers' locations and location histories, and assign jobs. Workers can view assignments, enable or disable location sharing, accept jobs or decline them, check-in for jobs, add job notes, view completed jobs, and communicate using Hangouts. Administrators can add or subtract Maps Coordinate users, update billing information, specify what job information is collected, and add Google Maps Engine layers, among other administrative tasks.

Google Maps visualization of customers generated by bike manufacturer Pure Fix Cycles.
Google Maps visualization of customers generated by bike manufacturer Pure Fix Cycles.

Google declined to provide data about the number of companies employing the service. The San Francisco 49ers discussed usage of the service last year. Dan Cory, director of security for the team, said in a blog post that the sports organization uses Google Maps Coordinate to handle pre-game logistics.

"When we're on the road and one of the players needs a ride back from the workout facility to the hotel, Maps Coordinate shows me which of my drivers is available and nearby to complete the transportation task," Cory said. "Moreover, it provides a visual communication tool, showing the real-time location of our security team on a Google Map."

With Maps Engine Pro, data from Google Maps Coordinate becomes potentially more useful. Users can customize maps to suit business needs, map business data alongside worker assets, and share and collaborate on maps with people inside and outside of their organization.

For organizations with enterprise mapping requirements, Google offers Maps Engine, which counterintuitively has more features than Maps Engine Pro -- despite having fewer words in its name.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:02:01 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.
Yes indeed be a part of the new new new thing, not the same old thing. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 9:41:19 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.
@Jeff: good advice, thank you. It seems enterpriese and tech companies in general have grossly underestimated the impact of "the consumerization of IT." It's so much more far-reaching than people just bringing their favorite smartphone to work. I hear about shadow IT projects cropping up all over the enterprise these days. Buying a business application, putting in a wireless router, using Google hangouts, it's all as easy as downloading an app to your phone, even if it fails to deliver the interoperability with other apps in the enterprise these users say who cares as long as I can get my job done without involving IT. this is truly transformative and is going to change everything we do so that in 5 years the things we used to do will seem quaint. I know folks will figure out ways to make money in the new normal, but they may not be the same folks making $$ based on the previous market conditions. (Here's hoping we're both among the former group and not the latter!)

 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 8:56:41 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.
Susan to be honest it comes down to finding the right customers.  Ones who are mission critical and up time is more important than cost.  They value relationships and the nuances in solutions.  What is driving cost down is the consumerization (mentality) of IT.  What I hear is "I can get that at Costco" And then for Telecom, wow I do data infrastructure cabling and I see fewer and fewer customers putting phones in.  Yes sure healthcare call centers yes companies, why should they.  You have unlimited minutes on your companies mobile phone and it goes everywhere with you and it features text, IM and video too.  Plus it can log into your web portal and you can collaborate in the cloud.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 8:51:01 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.
@Jeff Jerome: So in this scenario, how does one even decide where to put their efforts in developing a particular area of expertise? I'm thinking especially of anyone trying to differentiate themselves in a position within enterprise IT or Telecom or Networking. 
Jeff Jerome
IW Pick
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 8:48:14 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.

Susan - I think almost all technologies are racing to the bottom.  The manufactures are chasing volume and drives the cost way down.  Plus with the products becoming more and more self discovering with auto configuration who needs professional services.  Depending on the product the services can be more expensive than the hardware and with the hardware racing to zero dollars pro services will be right there.  But specifically so called Telepresence suites that are cloud based - web camera a computer and a cloud based bridge.  Google hang out again,

Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 8:35:41 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.
@Jeff Jerome:  "The race to the bottom where no one can make a living"

--I fear your friend is right, mobile workforce management tools like the one Thomas describes here were also quite costly to deploy, and now it's as easy (and cheap) as a smartphone and Google maps.

What do you think will be the next tech sector facing a race to the bottom? 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 8:33:03 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concur Find a need and fill it.
@Thomas: Many major transportaion, logistics, field service and field sales companies have been working with solutions that cost far far more than what Google has launched here--or are using their own homegrown solutions. I expect we'll be seeing alot of shakeup in that space in the months/year to come. It will also be interesting to see if other types of businesses that might not have considered something like this decide to explore it because of the low cost of entry. Imagine if a DA's office could easily track the whereabouts of all its prosecutors at any given time, or perhaps a media company might want to get a global view of where all its journalists are at any given point...

 
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
7/27/2014 | 10:34:09 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concur Find a need and fill it.
@Thomas it probably wouldn't do you any good to track your own whereabouts during working hours. Desk here -- desk over there, then maybe a visit to the libarary...

 

:)
Jeff Jerome
IW Pick
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/25/2014 | 11:54:07 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concor or Find a need and fill it.

Thomas - You are right depending on your core business and applications this can look very appealing.  Part of my core competency is Unified Communications which in my opinion includes video conferencing and Telepresence.  Google also offers another solution which is the professional version of Google hang out., web conferencing.  This runs off of Goggles Chrome Box with a web camera and USB microphone.  Which can take a solution that used to cost say 25K plus or more per end point to being a SaaS solution that is very cheap.  Plus they offer a room scheduling application that runs off of their calendar that is a $175 onetime licensing fee per room plus the $300.00 for a tablet at the door.  As one of my friends once said "The race to the bottom where no one can make a living" and I add even Google in the long term. 

Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 7:06:20 PM
Re: Curious change and so many worlds to concur Find a need and fill it.
If I were starting any sort of delivery business, I'd be giving this service a serious look.
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