Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Navigating by machine

As part of my extra-curriculum doctoral activities, yesterday I participated in a morning seminar aimed at SMEs. This was held in Ra'anana, 60km away, in a location with which I am unfamiliar. In previous times, I would have gone to Google Maps (or similar) and printed out a map or route which would lead me to the location (I know how to get within 5km of the location, but no closer). But now that I have a smart phone, I thought I should be like every other driver in Israel and use the 'Waze' application. This app is more than an a  GPS/map; it 'knows' (by means of other users) which is the best/fastest/shortest route to the location and 'knows' where there are problems (such as traffic jams, etc).

I downloaded the app and after a few minutes incomprehension, discovered how I could enter my location and my destination. The app gave me three options for getting to my destination; I chose the fastest. When I got into the company car, I discovered that this was fitted with a GPS, so out of curiosity, I entered my destination into this GPS. At first, I was getting directions from both devices, but as I knew at least the first half of my journey, I turned Waze off.

I turned Waze back on when I was on the eastern side of Kfar Sava. At first, the two apps agreed on how I should travel, but then suddenly Waze told me to turn off the major road and on to a side road, presumably to slide around a local jam. The car's GPS hummed for a minute then recalibrated. Waze let me a jinking dance around the back streets of Kfar Sava which might have saved me some time; the poor GPS of the car was having a nervous fit at what appeared to be my blatant disregard of its orders. The best bit came towards the end when Waze said to turn left after 200m whereas the GPS said to turn right after 800m!

In the end, I arrived at my destination - after an hour and a half, when I had been promised 65 minutes. 

The seminar had some interesting sessions - one on negotiation and one on modern marketing (ironically, two MBA subjects) - but the one on ERP for SMEs (which is probably why I went in the first place) was disappointing and the others were irrelevant for me.

Driving back was very easy as the location was right next to Route 4; I had no need of either Waze nor GPS.

What I didn't know until the evening was that Waze almost completely drained the mobile phone's battery (it was down to about 25%) and that the phone as a phone wasn't working: I couldn't make or receive calls. I will know for next time.

[SO: 3673; 2,15,36
MPP: 574; 1, 1, 6]

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