Firstly, we’d like to wish all our customers and partners a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Aligned Assets! If you’ve not seen our Merry Christmas card yet, click here to enjoy some festive cheer.
We feel we can’t reflect on the year without acknowledging what an extraordinary year it’s been. As we embarked on a new decade, I don’t think any of us had any idea of what lay ahead. The year has certainly had its challenges for businesses and the public sector alike, and we’re grateful for finally being able to look ahead to what we hope to be a more optimistic 2021.
More than ever, we would like to thank all our customers and partners for their continued support and interaction with us. Throughout the year, we have made some major developments to some of our products, a couple of which have required a lot of input from you. We truly thank you for that as we appreciate how much this impacts on your resources, and we hope these redesigns and developments will better serve your needs, saving you more time through their streamlined processes.
Welcome to our new customers
While we continue to enjoy working with our established customers, we’re delighted to welcome 13 new customers into the fold this year:
- Broxbourne Borough Council
- Elmbridge Borough Council
- GeoPlace – FindMyAddress.co.uk
- London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
- London Borough of Camden
- London Borough of Croydon
- London Borough of Haringey
- Metropolitan Police
- Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
- Runnymede Borough Council
- Slough Borough Council
- Transport Scotland
- Wigan Council
Migration to the cloud
A staggering 69% of our new customers have implemented hosted cloud-based solutions, compared with 33% last year. Plus we’ve had a couple of existing customers move across to hosted.
This development well exceeds last year’s trend and is indicative of the dramatic change in work practices we have seen in 2020. With remote working at a maximum, many organisations have migrated to hosted solutions to help increase their resilience as well as reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs. With the ongoing bruising of budgets caused by Covid-19, migrating to hosted is an easy win for efficiency.
We’ve seen some major product developments this year, some of which aren’t ready yet but are certainly on the way:
We have been working with a Customer Experience expert and a number of customers to completely redesign the user interface and functionality of our LLPG gazetteer. We introduced the working prototype at our User Group online workshops, and will be going to the next phase of testing next year. We have built a first iteration, ie an ASD version for Transport for Scotland, but this is a much simplified version. This is a huge development undertaking so we estimate the full operational version being available in 12 months or so.
New developments for Bluelight include being able to automatically import the six-weekly Change Only Updates (COUs). Not only has the performance of the import improved, it can now be setup to automatically send an email to the relevant people with the pdf import report and text document of the summary.
The other major development for 2020 is the ability to create and name local only streets that can be stored in the ABP format locally, allowing it to be shared with other people and systems.
Derived from our SinglePoint product, Symphony Search has taken cloud based address search to another level, delivering accurate addresses at great speed. Using state-of-the-art technology, REST web services, searches are driven across three or more servers, enabling scalability and maximised resilience. This is the search engine that powers GeoPlace’s FindMyAddress.co.uk. While this product uses AddressBase Premium as its data source, we’ll soon be releasing another version that searches against AddressBase Core for those organisations with simpler address data needs.
We have implemented some substantial developments with our regular iMatch product such as developing a new form that has a map. In addition to that, through our project working with Landmark and Smart DCC to deliver the Central Switching Service for energy switching, we have developed significant upgrades to iMatch achieving high speed matches of up to 50 million addresses over 10 hours. These upgrades are called iMatch Advanced and Search Blaze.
iMatch Advanced uses the same algorithm as iMatch, but is optimised for automation and speed. For the ultimate in speed and accuracy, our new Search Blaze uses pattern matching. With these new additions, we can better tailor the matching solution to meet your requirements.
SNN web service
After an extensive overhaul of SNN last year, we are pleased to complement that with the release our new SNN web service – designed to revolutionise how SNN applications are made.
Councils implementing our SNN web services will be able to link their website to their SNN solution through the web service. This means the public or staff will be able to submit their SNN applications directly online, resulting in the SNN database automatically updating with the application details. This will save huge swathes of time as manual entry will no longer be needed. And because it is automated, it eliminates the possibility of the human error associated with manual input.
Our partnership with GeoPlace has taken a new turn this year. Resulting from the new Geospatial Commission strategy, the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has been made openly available and royalty free for use on Open Government Licence (OGL) terms. In response to this, GeoPlace has developed a rapid address search site, FindMyAddress, so anyone can find their UPRN. We’re delighted to partner with GeoPlace through implementing our cutting-edge address search solution, Symphony Search, to deliver a fast and resilient predictive address search.
Landmark and Smart DCC
Our partnership to deliver the Central Switching Service for next-working-day energy switching is on target. We are now on to the mass testing stage with all looking good for Ofgem’s 2021 launch.
We continue to work closely with Cadcorp to ensure our gazetteer products integrate seamlessly with Cadcorp’s GIS. This enables users to use their preferred GIS alongside our gazetteer product out of the box with minimal configuration
We also work closely with Esri on enhanced integration with their systems, including ArcGIS Search Locator, enabling customers to select their preferred GIS alongside our gazetteer product off the peg with minimal configuration.
We are working with Jadu to replace SinglePoint with the advanced Symphony Search for use within their products. This means that by using our ABP hosted solution with Symphony Search, local authorities can use this resource within their Jadu products quickly and cost-effectively with no overhead for keeping the addresses up-to-date.
Consultancy and training
Of course this has taken a different shape this year, but it’s been essential to continue providing this service for you, even if it’s over the e-waves. We have produced a few training videos this year, and intend to build on this so we have a complete library available.
Despite a hugely challenging year, our Support Team have continued to provide our customers with an exemplary service, achieving a consistent monthly score of close to five stars in quality of service.
Regrettably, all live events for 2020 were postponed due to the pandemic. While we have missed seeing you all face-to-face, we’ve enjoyed seeing some of you at our virtual events and meetings. Our Autumn programme of User Group workshops have proved to be a great success, with requests coming through to keep these up, even when we can reinstate our two annual User Group meetings. All our virtual sessions were product development driven, the recordings of which can be found on our Customer Portal, under Forums and the relevant product.
We attended the Utility Week Live Online event in November, with the aim to raise awareness of our solutions with the utilities market. With our ongoing project to deliver the Central Switching Service, we are particularly interested in making contact with the energy companies.
Aligned Assets Communications
We continue to further develop the Customer Portal and encourage you to take a look at what’s on offer there. Recordings from our User Group workshops can be found under the Forum tab, and soon we’ll be building a library of training videos under Knowledge.
We launched our new website at the beginning of the year. The analytics show that visitors are spending longer on the site and visiting more pages, which we hope indicates a greater ease in navigation. We’re really keen to build up our portfolio of case studies, so let us know if you’d like to put your organisation forward.
Looking ahead to 2021
2020 has been an extraordinary year and I have no doubt we’re all looking forward to putting it behind us as we move into an optimistic new year. With the viability of vaccines being announced, we hope to engage with you at the various industry events that were postponed.
In addition to our usual events, ie exhibiting at the GeoPlace Conference and organising our own User Group meetings, we are also planning to exhibit at the Esri Conference for the first time. In line with our work with Landmark and Smart DCC on the Central Switching Service for next-working-day energy switching, we will be testing out a presence at Utility Week Live at the NEC.
We are grateful for the integrity and trust we have nurtured with our customers over the years, and look forward to deepening those relationships further, both with our established customers and new ones alike.
As ever, we shall continue to push the boundaries of excellence, and look forward to your continued company on this journey.
If you need to get hold of us over the Christmas period, check out our Christmas Support Hours here.
In the meantime, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Hopeful New Year!