What Was Up at the Pitney Bowes Business Insights Conference

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Last week I was lucky enough to spend time at the M Resort in Las Vegas, NV for the 2011 PBBI Insights Conference. I had a wonderful time seeing everyone again (many who I hadn’t seen since the last Insights Conference in Miami last year). There was a ton going on given the new focus from Pitney Bowes on their location intelligence division. Here are some highlights:

  • MapInfo 11 – Should be out by the end of the month (if not sooner). I liked that there were no “goes to 11” jokes (at least none that I noticed) given that stopped being funny at least 20 years ago. One new features in MiPro that should be of interest to folks is that it will now be available as a 64-bit application (Grapevine got that wrong) to run under a 64-bit operating system and take advantage of 4GB of memory. Desktop GIS should take advantage of the great new hardware we’ve had for years and not be limited to what was expected in 1999, right? also noticed that OpenStreetMap will be available as a basemap (joining the Bing Aerial, Hybrid and Road layers). Also the biggest frustration with me and MiPro has been fixed; working with tabular data is finally workable and could actually stop me from exporting data into other databases to work with it.
  • MapInfo Manager – This is a relatively new product at attempts to help you manage your spatial data. The session was very well attended so it appears this is a huge want from the PBBI community. Being browser based, MapInfo Manager seems to be a better choice for organizations to use than a traditional desktop application. It also is INSPIRE compliant offering up CSW feeds to clients to use (including MiPro 10.5 or later).
  • MapInfo Spatial Server – I didn’t get as much time to spend on these sessions, but APB has a detailed rundown. This will replace most of the legacy MapInfo server technology with a modern spatial server. It is still very early in its implementation so we’ll need to keep an eye out on functionality as PBBI releases some demos and use cases. Definitely something to watch.
  • Geosk – While this was released last year, 2011 will be a big year (disclaimer: PBBI is using WeoGeo technology on it). PBBI is in the process of loading up their latest data to Geosk and has signed up Mentum as a Geosk Library customer and you’ll see their data on Geosk (as well as WeoGeo Market) very soon. For data vendors, DaaS is critical for them to scale up. Those who persist in sending out DVDs via snail mail will wither and die (Fair warning folks).
  • From MapInfo to Pitney Bowes – The new President of PBBI, John O’Hara, was definitely on message with MapInfo and Group1 being integrated into the greater Pitney Bowes strategy. While I don’t think this means that PBBI is going to abandon the “traditional” geo market (You know the one where nobody has any money?), but they are going to focus on Fortune 100 companies who want to to integrate spatial data into their business decisions. PBBI was on message as being part of Pitney Bowes. I liked the focus!

As with most conferences, I didn’t get a chance to sit in on every session and PBBI unlike many other geospatial companies does do a traditional plenary where they roll down each product in front of everyone. Looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year with the new MapInfo Spatial Server and of course Geosk!

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