A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This is, by far, the largest conference held in Las Vegas, which is saying something. This year, approximately 150,000 technology industry types (sorry regular people, the show is not open to the public) came from all over the world to wow and be wowed by the newest advances in consumer electronics.
Considering the last trade show I attended was APWA in Chicago, this was somewhat of a culture shock. No offense to APWA, but CES runs at an entirely different scale. The whole show covers 1.9 million square feet and, over a 24-hour period, I walked almost all of it. By the time I was headed home, I had at least one blister and a gammy hip. It was big, it was bright, it was noisy, and it was thoroughly overwhelming.
Take, for example, Samsung's booth, which was packed with everything from giant TVs to dishwashers, and seemed to be the size of a small city block. I saw men enter the booth clean-shaven and eventually exit the other side crawling on all fours, beards brushing the ground, gasping for water.
In an area of the show dubbed Eureka Park, I found the ambitious startup companies showcasing their latest “concoctions,” exciting hybrids of new and emerging technologies such as location awareness, cloud, 3D printing, internet of things, and wearables, all poised to evolve the technology landscape even further.
At the end of the day this is a consumer-based event. The intention is, after all, to build excitement about the technology and devices hitting the consumer market in 2014. Which begs the question: why should government care about a 110 inch curved UltraHD television?
As you've probably noticed by the growing prevalence of iPads and smartphones in your office, the line between consumer technology and government technology is blurring. Each technological advance that’s made available in the consumer world will eventually effect the expectations of government employees and the citizens they serve.
As consumers, our lives get a little easier with every new innovation and device. It doesn’t take long for us to wish for that same convenience in all our affairs. That’s why we built Cartegraph Operations Management System (OMS) with a distinct focus on creating incredibly simple and pleasing user experiences.
We here at Cartegraph are consumers as well as municipal industry experts. When we sat down to build a new product we looked at typical government software and asked ourselves if it really had to be that way. Does it have to be ugly? Does it have to be difficult to use? Our answer is no. Our answer is OMS.
Our user-centric focus is evident in every part of the Cartegraph interface. We integrated the Google maps that everyone uses in their everyday lives, leveling the geospatial playing field for those non-GIS types. We created easy to use apps for managing almost any type of municipal asset imaginable. And we designed our technology to perform optimally on those iPads the public sector is so fond of these days.
So whether you’re a citizen reporting a pothole online or a Public Works employee closing a work order for the pothole you just repaired, the Cartegraph technology you’re using will provide nothing less than a first class user experience.
Looking back at the CES show through a filter of time and well-rested legs only reinforces the view that usability is the key factor in adoption and success of a technology. No matter how great an idea someone has, when you pick up a gadget and it is hard to understand or use, you probably put it down and move on to that simple, intuitive solution in the next booth. The products that stick in my mind are those that were able to both grab my imagination as well as make sense in my hands.
You know, products like Cartegraph!