Here at Esri Australia, we love it when a cool new product that leverages location is released! (Must be the geo-geek in us!) That’s why we’re excited about the upcoming launch of the new MDS PlaceLocator. What makes PlaceLocator so special, I hear you ask? We sat down and had a chat with Chris Taylor, the Software Development Manager at MDS, to find out!
EA: Chris, thanks for taking the time to chat with us right before Christmas!
CT: Happy to be here.
EA: Well, let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is PlaceLocator?
CT: PlaceLocator is a simple way to create, manage and style your own interactive mapping application for your website. It makes sure your customers know where to find you – quickly and easily. PlaceLocator empowers business to create powerful Locators. Web based locators in their simplest form are a way for businesses to enable customers to find products or services. However at MDS, we see them as much more than that. Through the use of location intelligence, we see them as a powerful Customer Service tool that businesses can use to help make decisions. It’s also the first online application available through MDS’ The GeoPlace.
EA: Why did MDS choose to create PlaceLocator?
CT: MDS has been building Locators for many of Australia’s blue chip companies for years. It’s that experience and the close relationships we have with our clients that helped us recognise that the market was evolving. Speed to Market, consistent pricing and Customer Intelligence were becoming increasingly important. The PlaceLocator addresses all these concerns.
EA: So how does it work?
CT: Once a user signs up to the service, they just follow the four user-friendly steps:
1. Name your PlaceLocator and Place Category
2. Add your Place (Business Listings)
3. Style your PlaceLocator
4. View and Embed your PlaceLocator
As you can see, it’s very easy.
EA: Why is a tool like this important for businesses?
CT: Customer Service is becoming increasingly important to businesses. I think they see the PlaceLocator as not only a product or service location tool, but as a way to gather Customer Intelligence which they can use in their decision making. “Top performers say analytics is a differentiator. We found that organisations who strongly agreed that the use of business information and analytics differentiates them within their industry were twice as likely to be top performers as lower performers.“ (Source: 2010 New Intelligent Enterprise Global Executive Study and Research Project, IBM.)
EA: So is it easy to use? Or do businesses need someone with coding or web experience to set it up?
CT: It’s very easy to use. No coding or web experience is required. “Ease of Use” was one of the core design philosophies. The PlaceLocator can be created entirely through the online self service store – all the user has to do is embed a link in their website.
EA: Tell me about the base data it uses?
CT: The PlaceLocator uses MDS’ own datasets. We take the data products from PSMA and add value around these. The Maps, Geocoding and routing all use this data.
EA: Once I get on the GeoPlace website – how quickly can I get PlaceLocator up and running?
CT: It will take just a few minutes. Speed to market was identified as a critical issue for the PlaceLocator to address. During the design phase, a lot to thought was directed at ensuring that a PlaceLocator could be created in a matter of minutes by non tech-savvy users.
EA: Once it’s all set up, how will it look to my customers? What do they see? What do they have to do to locate us?
CT: Straight away the customer can see a map with all their places loaded. The customer can manipulate the map itself to change the location or perform a search to zoom to a specific suburb or postcode.
EA: How can I personalise PlaceLocator?
CT: The PlaceLocator can be personalised by adding a Company Logo, a Title and descriptive text. Most importantly the Colours and Font can be chosen from a selection of themes or can be fully customised so the PlaceLocator can be made consistent with any website.
EA: How will PlaceLocator fit in with my company’s website? Does it embed?
CT: Each locator gets its own personal URL. This can be embedded within an iFrame or added as a hyperlink to text on your home page.
EA: In one sentence, what’s the best thing about PlaceLocator?
CT: The great thing about the PlaceLocator is even your Gran can build one! Seriously, the product removes major barriers of entry for the client; Speed to Market, Low entry price, consistent pricing and no web development. That coupled with providing the Customer Intelligence makes it a very compelling solution for organisations and businesses of any size.
EA: That was more than one sentence Chris! But we’ll let it slide. Thanks for taking us through PlaceLocator!
Be part of the PlaceLocator Beta Program! Sign up today!