Foursquare is the big leader in the location-based services (LBS) field, but other service are starting to catch up. People are becoming more aware of the fact that their Smartphones include GPS satellite technology and they can use this technology for a whole raft of applications.
One example of the expanding use of this technology is Facebook places. Now it’s possible to know when our friends are at the super market or watching the new Harry Potter movie -Great!?.
Another probably more useful application but more consumeristic is the Checkpoints app. This app lets you earn points as you shop, that’s the last thing we need more incentive to buy some cosmetics or junk food that we didn’t really need.
The CEO of Checkpoints, Mark DiPaola, does have an interesting point to make about the future of location-based services. He states ‘Gone is the novelty of checking in simply for ‘bragging rights’…Consumers will require real value in exchange for their attention and participation. Mainstream consumers begin to see the benefits of LBS apps – particularly around making shopping more personal – without compromising their privacy’.
Mr. DiPaola is basically saying that just letting somebody know where you are, just like Facebook places, is boring and people want to do more. However, it may not be the case that people really want to use LBS for shopping and that by its nature the service cannot be private. To use these services you have to let somebody or something know where you are all of the time, not exactly private.
The Future of Location-Based Services
There is a hope that LBS can bring the online and offline worlds together. It may drive people into shops in the real world instead of choosing to always shop online.
Having read the interview between WebProNews and Mark DiPaola I may have stumbled across cheesy business speak (seemingly only capable by young American entrepreneurs) of the year, with phrases such as ‘robust multi-level relationships with consumers’ and ‘deep immersive consumer experiences’. Most people (me and people I know) shop for things they need to live and sometimes buy themselves a treat (not exactly deep and meaningful); I don’t know what sort of people Mr. DiPaola knows.
Moving away from the consumeristic world and into a world that’s a little more exciting, location-based services have some nice potential in TV.
The independent production company Endemol USA has signed a deal with Foursquare. The two companies will work together to build a television series that combines Foursquare’s location-based mobile gaming platform and Endemol TV production abilities.
There is little information available in exactly how the technology will work but there is talk of LBS to be used to emulate the competition and travel aspects of reality shows such as The Amazing Race.
The future of location-based services is certainly bright especially in the consumeristic world. I’m not sure about ‘deep immersive consumer experiences’ but I do know that people love deals and bargains. The TV thing is not something people totally understand yet but it is certainly interesting to watch how Foursquare will utilize its 5 million membership in this endeavor.