I suspect there are a number of organisations that lock their Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices down, stopping people installing applications on them. There are plenty of valid reasons for this, but there are some great applications that I think should be installed as default by all companies.
One of these is the Google Maps application (available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry), it’s especially useful if your devices have GPS chips in them (which a growing amount do).
I spent this last weekend in Stockholm with some friends, on one of the days we went our separate ways during the day and then arranged to meet up later.
I got a call about 4pm :
“We’re in a pub called The Londoner”
“Where is that?”
“Not sure, it’s just down from the Olympic Stadium”
“OK, do you know the street?”
There were some directions given at this point but as we couldn’t work out the starting point accurately I wasn’t hopeful!
Anyway the point of all this was to explain the benefits of Google Maps.
I fired up the application on my Windows Mobile device, the GPS located my position in a city I’d never visited before, I then used the integrated search function to find “The Londoner”. This searched was location aware and only searched for places and names near my location.
The description given showed I had found the correct place and from this point in the application it was a simple click to show directions and immediately highlight the path from where I was to the destination.
As soon as you move a little arrow shows your direction on the map so you can tell you’re heading off the right way.
The interface is extremely intuitive and on a 3G connection very quick, there is no jumping off into the mobile browser it’s all done in the Google Maps Application. And if the city has street view you can even access that on the mobile device.
Now clearly there is little business benefit of finding directions to a pub, but a travelling lawyer could use the app to easily find directions to a clients or the firms offices in a different city. There could even be savings if staff were encouraged to walk rather than jump in a taxi (which I bet is common when in a new city).
Now if only it integrated with your internal CRM systems ……