Eas­ier route to sav­ings

Google Maps saves SA con­sumers time and money: new re­port says it has given users ben­e­fits worth R50bn

Financial Mail - - DIGITAL MAPS - Nafisa Ak­a­bor

It has be­come the tool with which peo­ple nav­i­gate the world: we use Google Maps to plan a road trip, look at an aerial im­age of our pre­vi­ous home or de­ter­mine the quick­est route to the air­port.

And new re­search has re­vealed how the dig­i­tal map­ping ser­vice saves con­sumers money. This is what it sug­gests:

● Us­ing dig­i­tal maps has re­duced travel time by 7% on av­er­age in SA. This value in time (based on lo­cal wage rates) has been cal­cu­lated by re­search agency Al­pha­beta to be worth R11bn;

● Re­duced driv­ing time has saved 48l of fuel per car, sav­ing R37bn in to­tal;

● SA users save about 100m hours (500 min­utes/year per user) from more ef­fi­cient pur­chases. This means us­ing maps helped con­sumers find stockists of prod­ucts in more ef­fi­cient lo­ca­tions; and

● Emer­gency re­sponse times have de­creased by 20%.

The re­search sug­gests that 96% of SA’S on­line pop­u­la­tion (about half the ac­tual pop­u­la­tion) use dig­i­tal maps.

The re­port was re­leased by Google SA. For­tune Sibanda, its pub­lic pol­icy and gov­ern­ment re­la­tion­ships man­ager, says Google has long known how pow­er­ful map­ping ser­vices can be. It not only of­fers tools that make it eas­ier for peo­ple to get around; its tools are also used for ex­plo­ration, busi­ness, and ed­u­ca­tion.

“Dig­i­tal maps have be­come pow­er­ful tools for pol­i­cy­mak­ers to en­sure the safety of their cit­i­zens, and for com­pa­nies and con­sumers to save time and money when man­ag­ing their daily af­fairs.”

And he says ben­e­fits are far Car­pool ser­vices en­abled by dig­i­tal maps could take cars off the road Re­duc­tion in daily car trips (m) 2016* Asia-pa­cific North Amer­ica Eu­rope Mid­dle East Latin Amer­ica Africa SA To­tal greater than peo­ple re­alise.

“We dis­cov­ered that geospa­tial ser­vices not only make life eas­ier — by help­ing peo­ple turn their in­ten­tions of find­ing a place into ac­tions of get­ting there — but also sup­port the global econ­omy by cre­at­ing tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits for busi­nesses and con­sumers,” says Sibanda.

The re­port says dig­i­tal map­ping ser­vices have pro­vided SA con­sumers with R50bn in to­tal an­nual ben­e­fits. This fig­ure is cal­cu­lated us­ing a mon­e­tary value of R1,795/user that SA con­sumers place on the ser­vice. This is what peo­ple sur­veyed for the re­port would be will­ing to pay for dig­i­tal maps for a year of ac­cess.

“This in­cludes the petrol and time-sav­ing ef­fects cre­ated by be­ing able to beat traf­fic and, sim­i­larly, peo­ple us­ing dig­i­tal maps can shop more ef­fi­ciently, find­ing the fastest routes be­tween stores, which once again saves them time and fuel,” says Sibanda.

Con­sumers are not the only ones ben­e­fit­ing. Google says its map­ping ser­vices have sup­ported about R456bn in sales for SA busi­nesses by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion such as store hours, con­tact in­for­ma­tion and re­views.

“Us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of in­for­ma­tion ob­tained from third-party sources, con­sumer sur­veys and pro­pri­etary re­search, the study was able to come to that fig­ure by de­ter­min­ing the eco­nomic value of that in­for­ma­tion,” says Sibanda.

Frost & Sul­li­van an­a­lyst Lehlo­honolo Mo­kenela says dig­i­tal map­ping has been an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful tool, par­tic­u­larly in the trans­port and lo­gis­tics sec­tor, and has spawned a range of ap­pli­ca­tions across sec­tors such as tourism, re­tail and ed­u­ca­tion.

“In a lit­tle over a decade, Google Maps has es­tab­lished a dom­i­nant po­si­tion in this space, with its ap­pli­ca­tion among the most com­monly used. It has helped en­dusers save count­less hours spent on the roads search­ing for des­ti­na­tions or opt­ing for de­liv­ery ser­vices in­stead,” says Mo­kenela.

Con­sumer brands have also drawn from foot traf­fic data.

But Mo­kenela says there are risks. Hack­ers can gain ac­cess to a cus­tomer lo­ca­tion for cy­ber­at­tacks.

Google’s re­port comes a month af­ter Uber SA an­nounced its part­ner­ship with the CSIR to share traf­fic data with gov­ern­ment and

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