Saturday, November 22

Future of Mobile: Location, Location, Location

Part two of the blog on the Carsonified conference is about location and how it’s finally coming of age... or is it?

Andrew Grill gave an interesting talk and had a few great things to say on the subject. The main areas that he identified as being required for a successful location based service are; Targeting, measurability, location, relevance. From his experience users will be happy to give information about themselves as long as you can offer them something useful in return. One of Andrews gripes is the relevancy of ads, and said that we haven’t cracked it on the mobile platforms yet, as Google have done in their search.

The just-in-time Andrew Scott from Rummble had some great insights into the location world from his experience on the front line. One of the disappointing facts was that users are only in GPS signal for 4½, really which isn’t enough to make it a reliable service. Something with more interest was that on PlayTxt only 5% of the users actually use the privacy settings available to them, even though they are very powerful. What this means is that people just aren’t fussed about letting others see where they are. Now whether statistic would stand up if people are surveyed about this subject is something that intrigues me and I suspect it’s more down to people not understanding the implications of the platform, or just not having the knowledge about how to change the situation.
Andrew was adamant that simply knowing “who’s nearby” doesn’t constitute a business as his cases studies of Loopt proved. Another common mistake is to limit the reach of your service, something that West Coast US companies have a habit of doing. He had more positive things to say about the context of the presence, location in vertical markets and services that filter noise, telling users exactly what they want to know. The main points from his summary were;
• build privacy, but few people will use it
• don’t build commoditiy items (cell db’s) these are available elsewhere
• people travel with their mobile, everywhere!
• Data analysis is key
• Use open standards where necessary
• People are more impatient whilst mobile, more eager to engage

A next area Andrew discussed was that location data will become a commodity, and the fact people will opt in their current location (as they are already doing) will be a commodity. Whilst he didn’t mention any time frames, I can imagine the availability of location data will come sooner than expected, however I think we have a long way to go to earn the trust of users, especially with the negativity, and general anger surrounding location data. (BNP, Bath, Shopping Centers)
His final point he made was intelligent data crunching is the future of location systems, quoting web 3.0 and natural language systems as key to new services.

All in all some interesting discussions all round and very relevant to what we're working on at Fluid Pixel

No comments: