Archive for October, 2008

Unless things take an unexpected turn, the world is going to a very different place financially. The sub-prime crisis is blossoming by the day into a problem of almost catastrophic proportions. The global financial infrastructure is tottering as reputable giants collapse under the weight of their reckless investment losses and the survivors frantically search for skirts to hide behind.

As we in South Africa already know the boom times are over. Higher food and fuel prices, as well as everything else, are taking an increased chunk of our pay packets. However this is going to seem like a walk in the park when the effects of the financial crisis in the USA begin to trickle our way.

The best-case scenario is that the US Treasury’s $700-billion dollar bailout plan succeeds in hiving off the “toxic debt” and stabilising the investment banking sector. However this major bailout package will create its own repercussions. Liquidity is expected to become a major issue as the availability of credit tightens up around the globe resulting in widespread economic slowdown.

As tightened economic conditions begin to bite even more deeply, we are going to see increasing levels of dissatisfaction among the poor. President Kgalema Motlanthe’s government is going to have its hands full dealing with the impact of the global financial crisis as well as with pressure from the likes of Cosatu to accommodate the needs of the poor.

As global liquidity tightens up, GIS and GPS-enabled technologies are going to come into their own. Politicians and business leaders would be well-advised to make use of these technologies to make more effective and efficient use of the budgets at their disposal.

In the July/August edition of PositionIT we published a views article by Craig Schwabe entitled “Social accountability and GIS”. In the article, he states that effective service delivery and development require the use of social accountability approaches and that GIS is key to the implementation of these approaches. Perhaps it’s time to give that article another read.

On the business side, use can be made of GPS-enabled technologies to increase mobile workforce productivity and reduce fuel-operating costs. In addition to these cost savings, locationing applications can be used to optimise employee routes, saving time spent in traffic and on figuring out how to reach a new destination. As you will see in the article “Location intelligence: the new DNA of insurance” insurers are already making use of location intelligence in their management of risk – basing their decisions on whether to provide insurance cover on an accurate assessment of the potential risks (see page 68).

What a pity that the financial gurus over at Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, AIG, Merrill Lynch et al didn’t pay more attention to their risk management planning.



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