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What Smartphone do you own/would like us to develop this App for?

  • Apple

    Votes: 6 42.9%
  • Android

    Votes: 7 50.0%
  • Windows

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • Blackberry

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

As you may have read elsewhere or seen on Twitter, I have been tasked with overseeing the creation of a ZeroNet App for Smartphones. The ZCW way is that we want to give you want you want - where possible, obviously. We can't give you all (or any of you for that matter) a Tesla Roadster.

I thought I would create this thread to see what you would want from an App on your phones. As you can see I have started a poll at the top to see what sort of phones we should target the App at but below I would love to hear your views on features to be included or not.

So, if you could wave a magic wand and have your perfect charging network app on your phone, what would it be able to do?

(Note: Obviously I cannot promise that all suggestions here will be included, but I will do my best within what is possible to take forward the most wanted ideas and create them.)

Mark Chatterley,
ZCW Communications Manager
 

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Not sure why we need to vote on which OS as it would be required for all I would suspect. At least that would seem to make sense to me at least if that sort of presence is required in the market place. At the moment I don't have a phone that will run "App's" but if/when I change the phone and wanted a ZCW App I would probably be disappointed if it was not available for the OS the phone ran on.

As for what it should do...

Ideally an App like I think you are talking of should be able to point be at the nearest location that is working and where I could charge the car as well has how many were available and in use/free. It may also need to say what type of connections/amperage were available. The user may also wish to customize it to the model of car so that only those locations that were suitable would be displayed. e.g. for a standard Ampera with a current from the boot charge cable had a 13amp socket.

Having said that if it is developed by ZCW or any other charging location supplier I suspect it will only display ones associated with its supplier. Perhaps it would be better to be developed independently and be supplier agnostic.
 

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has anyone approached Google about getting Charge Points added to Google Maps? surely someone could tie them up with the ethical responsibility...
 

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As there is no data capable info ZCW charge stations and it is impossible to get the commercial networks to share real-time data (I have asked some and I get the "commercially valuable" reply!) I suspect that getting any real-time status info (Active, available, working, not working etc) is a complete non-starter.

No harm in asking tho.
 

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dpeilow said:
Chargemaster has a live map on their site.
It will only show live data for chargemaster stations and those of their commercial partners though. That is the problem. In all likelihood OCM will not be given access, especially free access, to such data.

I spoke to Charge Your Car in Newcastle about this and their attitude was that the live data was the most valuable and potential marketable aspect of their business model. They would not discuss others using it even for a fee. I suspect that most commercial network operators are likely to feel the same way and so OCM getting that data at any price may prove to be a difficult or impossible task.

They may get some. But any app such as this, or any charging station web app, MUST have everything (or almost everything) or else it will be almost useless to EV drivers.
 

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dpeilow said:
Easy website scrape...
Agreed, but you then are at risk of being sued!

Access to web site infomation is subject to terms and conditions and copyright. It is almost always illegal to screen scrape without the owner's permission.

An example of this is eBay. There were many apps that scraped data from the eBay web site. eBay have wised up and now have banned scraping as a way to access eBay data... as a result, many free eBay apps are now no longer free as eBay is charging the app developer a fee for access to the API.

Their data is theirs to do what they want with. Just because data or information is on a web site it does not make it public domain or available for anyone to use as they want. It is still subject to copyright... this is often forgotten in the world of the internet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
RayG said:
Not sure why we need to vote on which OS as it would be required for all I would suspect. At least that would seem to make sense to me at least if that sort of presence is required in the market place. At the moment I don't have a phone that will run "App's" but if/when I change the phone and wanted a ZCW App I would probably be disappointed if it was not available for the OS the phone ran on.
The reason for the vote was that when it comes to developing Apps each and every OS you want to code for increases the price as there is no agnostic platform you can write for which will work for all SmartPhones. As such, if the price to develop for them all is too prohibitive it would be good to know which phone OS are most popular in this market so that we can do some targeting.

We are a charity with limited funds - as such, we need to make sure we spend them wisely. I though that a quick poll on this subject would be useful.

RayG said:
Having said that if it is developed by ZCW or any other charging location supplier I suspect it will only display ones associated with its supplier. Perhaps it would be better to be developed independently and be supplier agnostic.
We aren't a supplier in the sense you mean it. All of our locations are added to OCM so anyone can use our data. The App will use OCM and thus, any locations that are in there will be able to be displayed within our App.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Parax said:
has anyone approached Google about getting Charge Points added to Google Maps? surely someone could tie them up with the ethical responsibility...
Yep. They have been approached... or rather they looked into this in the US and very quickly threw up their hands and said 'this is too big for us'.

We are in a situation where a company the size of Google doesn't think any one company can create a single database. This is why we support OCM. Users can add new stations, update existing entries and anyone can use the data. I really do believe this is the only way we are going to get close to a useable database of Charging Stations.
 

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Sorry to be a doubting Thomas but if Google think it is too big for them given their massive resources isn't it rather a lost cause to think that OCM can do it? OK, OCM uses the power of an open source project meaning that the public can contribute and that is powerful indeed, and that may get a bit closer than Google given that there is no financial imperitive, but I cannot see OCM, or anyone for that matter, ever getting remotely close for a very long time. Never say never because I am sure given long enough it will become necessary but not for decades IMO.

It is such a fast moving target. Regardless of how many people contribute it will always be so out of date for it to be almost of no use at all. The data on OCM is all unverified. This is a major disadvantage of any public contribution. Look at Wiki... most stuff on Wiki is correct because it is verified by so many others and even if it is incorrect most people know not to rely upon it for facts that matter. Charging station info really does matter to EV drivers. If we get info that a charging station exists and is working then it sure better be working when they arrive or they could be sleeping in the car or worse! This is not info that can afford to be wrong because wrong info in this scenario is worse than no info at all. OCM will only ever be superficial and/or complementary to other info sources all the time it is public maintained.

OCM will never get real-time status info while the commercial companies hold on to their commercially sensitive data.

The mix of systems and back-office interfaces needed to create a viable and usable database such as OCM is more than one or two people will be able to maintain. Even now, with the small number of charging stations we have today, it is so out of date because there is a very limited capability for the commercial companies to interface with it. Why would they want to when they want to sell that info if they can to customers directly.

I know many people will disagree with me and that is fine because it means that at least people are trying to come up with something viable but with the best will in the world I can't see it happening until the charging station networks are much more matured and stable and even then not with a public maintained database.
 

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dpeilow said:
I suspect that in reality Google thought "this is tricky but the audience is too small to be worth our while advertising to".
You could be correct which means that if and when Google do decide that the market does justify the effort/cost then most databases at that time could become obsolete overnight!

Either way, IMO, OCM is not really getting us anywhere near what we need as EV drivers.

However, don't misunderstand me, I am not saying OCM isn't worth having. What I am saying though is that it will not be particularly useful as a single-source of info which is its objective. It could be very use in conjunction with other databases... in fact it is now and will continue to be so but I think the stated objective by OCM is way too ambitious IMO.
 
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