Friday, August 17, 2012


Digital convergence in 2012 basically means the smart phone (iPad users might differ).  The smart phone has become the platform in which video, phone, data collection, text, etc. has converged (at one point in time, the television was envisioned as the platform for convergence).

The ikeGPS, created by Surveylab, Wellington, New Zealand and distributed in the United States by Altus Positioning Systems, Torrence, Calif., has the potential to be the industry example of GPS capabilities convergence.  The ikeGPS allows for holistic collection - - digital compass, camera, laptop, and laser-range finder - - that opens the data door for utility operations.

The ikeGPS is accurate within 0.6 meters and can be coupled with a receiver to get centimeter-level accuracy.  Your local electric company can utilize the device to measure the distance between utility lines and poles from up to 1,000 meters away.  It can take a tree and collect specific data - - like height and width.  The utility can also rotate it in the software to see which way it will lean (and I lost my power this week during a storm - - leaning is important).

Digital convergence is important, but also important is the technology curve (which declines with time) and the labor curve (which typically increases with time - - especially if you factor in fringe benefits like health care).  The GPS/GIS market is huge ($3.7 billion by 2017 for the utility industry) - - allowing organizations to do more and better with fewer labor resources.

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