Sanjay Negi's thoughts on Current Affairs and Information Technology Directions.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Solving Traffic Problems

Using the power of IT to solve Traffic Problems is theoretically possible. Current Technologies based on GPS, Wireless, GIS and even Cellular Networks can be harnessed to bring much needed relief to harrassed commuters. Issues as usual go beyond Technology. Who would be the customers for such solutions which would be expensive to begin with. The beneficiaries would certainly be ordinary citizens behind their wheels, but there are no easy or attractive business models through which they can be made to subscribe to such services.

Municipalities and their Traffic Departments would in all probability not bite as they are always cash strapped and have other burning issues on their priority lists. In any case it is difficult to spot any sense of urgency there.

We must focus on the possibilities of creating business models for these services, be they fee or advertisement based. The FM traffic advisories are free and the channels' revenues are advertisement driven. May be this is the route which needs to be explored further.

As the technology costs keep falling, may be Google like organizations can create individualized services which can be delivered to appropriate devices like cell phones. Subscribers would register for these alerts much like they do for web content and the providers would slip in targetted advertisements to fund the infrastructure.

FM travel advisories may just be a small start and perhaps all this is really going to happen and is waiting for costs and potential revenues to balance out.

I would not bet much on civic agencies to break new ground on this. They have their hands full and pockets empty.

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