The European head of the navigation app tells the results obtained with institutional collaborations in the area. While among the users the game aspect wins
Waze's greatest cultural, rather than technological, challenge: “Many people think that traffic is simply traffic, and that it is there, immutable. Instead we must work to make them understand that we can change and improve, with the participation of all"Says Carlos Gmez, Head of Growth of Waze Europe. Gmez was the first person appointed to the European market for the crowdsourcing navigation app purchased by Google in 2013. He was responsible for developing partnerships with the main broadcasting channels in Europe, helping them to revolutionize traffic news, through the use in real-time data from Waze, and to enter into agreements with industry partners.
We met him during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, just as the tenth European partner of the Waze Connected Citizen Program was announced: theNatationale Databank Wegverkeersgegvens of the Netherlands, which joined the City of Barcelona, the Government of Catalonia, the Transport Center of Budapest, the Latvian State Roads (Latvia), the Lithuanian Road Administration (Lithuania), the Tarktee (Estonia), the Brisa Tollway Authority (Portugal), the city of Ghent (Belgium) and the Healthy Tollway Authority (France). Italy does not appear, but there may be surprises in the not too distant future. After all, explains Gmez, Waze goes fast where the traffic is horrible: “We are born for this: to help people avoid traffic and move better, and the community becomes strong where there is a difficult situation. In cities like Paris, Rome and Milan we are very used".
Collaboration with institutional partners is configured in several ways. There is only one rule: the exchange of data completely free. "If there were costs, some cities could have purposes that are not merely innovation and the improvement of mobility, which are the basis of our work",explains Gmez:"Some of these partnerships are bi-directional, some are not, because there may be realities that have no way of analyzing the data that we can send them."Collaboration results produce interesting results. In Estonia, the administration has sensors that detect ice on the roads, and Waze updates the maps in real time, based on that data. An advantage in terms of safety. The partnership with Genesis Pulse in the United States, on the other hand, has long guaranteed a timely intervention of ambulances and emergency vehicles, with a reduction in action times. In Rio, however, Waze is already working with institutions to understand how to manage the impact of the Olympics.
Not to mention the Waze Transport SDK, data that the company provides to third-party apps for the improvement of services (for example to integrate finger services).
"We create a community of traffic pioneers all over the world, and we bring them together twice a year, so that they can exchange examples of best practice“Says Gomez. On the user side, what makes Waze win over other services, gamification.“A fundamental aspect: not all users are there for that, but on the other hand the mechanism that makes many of them particularly active in reporting. There are hundreds of thousands of users who are fond of the game aspects, which makes them particularly active. "The culture of participation in the community of 50 million pilots, explains Gmez, works consistently in countries like the United Kingdom and Italy.