<ul><li>A location-based service (LBS) is an information and entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device </li></ul>Definition Wikipedia
Nothing new Like almost all of the recent “advances” online location based services is not new, the technology itself has been round for a while, at least in terms of feasibility. As always the ability for people to adopt and use it has been key to it’s growth.
Brought to life by mobile Mobile and in particular the adoption of smartphones has led to LBS taking off over the last few months. Now people have got over the Twitter barrier (Why do I care what people are doing?), answering the question “Where are you?” is a lot easier for people to swallow.
1 in 5 searches are locally relevant And search
Users 14,000 New visitors added every week by Foursqaure Apps Over 6,500 LBS apps on App Store Under 2,000 this time last year Over 1,000 available on Android Growth Worth 2009 £220m 2015 £420m 12% YOY growth estimated in next 5 years Categories 24% Social Networking 14% Travel 7% News 7% Music 5% shopping
Major players There are several major players in the LBS game. And these are just the specialists. Google Maps is probably the biggest player of them all, but its using the technology rather than building a new business around it.
<ul><li>“ The only really useful communications tools are those that create better relationships” </li></ul><ul><li>Joanne Jacobs </li></ul>
Helps you know where your friends are. Or if you’re boss has got into work yet and you need to get a move on. And what places locally are getting a lot of play, “trending”. Find friends
Of course, sex is always a driver in innovation. Grindr allows gay men to locate other gay men in their area to hook up. Potential for this is huge and it goes beyond just sex. Who locally wants a game of football, tennis. But sex will always take the lead… Find people with similar interests
St. Edward’s University used Whrrl to collate photos and feedback during their graduation. By all checking in they were able to share their experiences with each other there and then, rather than being dispersed on many different photos albums across Facebook after the event. Share experiences
Metro has tied up with Foursquare in Canada to provide it’s followers with recommendations that are relevant to where their users are. Reviews of the nearest restaurants, bars and shops when people need them. Great potential for tourism and big cities generally. Get relevant information
“ A neighbourhood spot where regulars sit elbow to elbow. Try the sweet potato gnocchi with boar bacon or the top notch olive and parmesan-crusted lamb chops. Finish well with an espresso-rum tiramisu” The best bit about this is that it is making a difference to someone in the real world, vs. the old school need to search, read, print and carry. Location based services are one part of the way in which the internet and connectivity can be used to enhance something “real”. Get relevant information
LBS has been used for the last few years in Singapore. You have a card in a reader in your car and when you pass in to the Central Business District (CBD) money is deducted. Simple. Beats going to the post office. Make payments
Jimmy Choo launched a treasure hunt through foursquare, as well as twitter and facebook, to launch their new trainers. The trainers checked in at a location and if you checked in whilst they were still there you won a pair of your choosing. Launch products
Chevy set-up a series of walking tours around Austin during SXSW. If they completed the tour they earned a badge that allowed them to collect a limtied edition Hot Wheels car on the showroom floor. In addition to this when you checked in at the airport Chevy said hello and lucky winners got a free ride to their hotel. Drive in store
The Swam badge is particularly difficult to get. You need to have 50 people checked in the at the same place. A.J. Bombers in Milwaukee hosted an event to achieve just this, bringing together all of their fans in a celebration of joint achievement. Bring your fans together (not just virtually)
The best bit about all of this is that, again, it was in the real world. People got together, talked to each other, ate burgers, drank beer and relaxed. LBS enabled this. It wasn’t an end in itself, but a means to something greater. Bring your fans together (not just virtually)
Mayors of Starbucks get money off at all Starbucks nationwide in the US. A dollar off their hyphen loving drinks is a good deal. And nationwide! They have a lot of stores. But then a lot of competition for Mayor I presume, so you’re likely to star local… Reward loyalty
Bravo developed a series of new badges on Foursquare that relate to their shows. They have an accompanying app that highlight locations that feature in the shows and fans can check in and earn the badge.
Although badges probably have a pretty short shelf life and Bravo will surely continue to innovate, this type of experience makes the shows people watch a broader experience than before. Going to the featured spots or sets. Imagine if the Sopranos had done it.. Extend experiences
Knowing where people are means you know when they’re coming to your store. H&M offer up to people virtual goods on My Town, giving them more points in the game and an incentive to shop instore. Reach people near point of sale
Checking in that you were at a football game in South Africa, or were watching one with friends back home helped you towards unlocking CNN themed badges. I’m pretty sure that’s why the Paraguay girl always kept her mobile so close. Establish yourself in new categories
Domino’s have started a Foursquare promotion rewarding Mayors of their stores with a free pizza every week, and you get a free side dish just for checking in. Sounds odd since no one “goes” to Domino’s, but I would put money on it having something to do with their new lunch menu which you are unlikely to order for delivery. Good use of LBS to make people think about your business differently. Change how people interact with you
Kaffeine and Reynolds are two independent coffee shops near where we work. Both enjoy a relatively loyal following from media types who like to buy from small businesses rather than the local Starbucks, Pret or Costa. Kaffeine Reynolds A Tale of Two Coffee Shops
Kaffeine has been taking a lead recently, becoming the more vogue choice for media show-offs who litter Great Titchfield Street. Becoming the Mayor has become somewhat of a fierce competition amongst nearby agencies. Knowing this, they have an ongoing promotion of free coffee for their Mayor.
Reynolds has somewhat lost its status as the coffee house of choice. Whilst the waiting time for a coffee may have something to do with it, if they could connect with their locals in the way Kaffeine does they could take advantage of the early adopters who come for a coffee everyday. Plus I’m the Mayor and I want my free coffee. Lack of adoption by businesses such as Reynolds is a threat to location based services taking off. Give me my free coffee. Or I’ll start going to Kaffeine.
Linking your Foursquare account with the networks may be a good idea in principle but you have to be aware that your friend’s have a threshold. They really don’t care that you’ve just got to work./picked up coffee/arrived at a train stations. Be selective. Be polite
Connecting to wifi all the time, or relying on ropey 3G connection to update where you are inconsistent and unreliable. If you’re outside of range are you going to leave what you’re doing just to check in? Until connection is ubiquitous it a critical mass of users is unlikely. Connection an issue
Constantly telling people where you are all day, everyday, is going to wear on battery life . When its one of a series of reasons you use your smart phone, along with speaking to people and checking sports scores online, it could drop down the list of priorities if it’s conking out your phone. As is battery life
There are limits to being the mayor . Only so many free coffees one man can have. Only so many badges you can collect before it gets a bit dull. The service will need to evolve and re-invent itselt to sustain relevance. Providing continual reward and surprises for committed users. And boredom
Make it more niche Superglued is a music lover network. It uses location (through Foursquare) along with Facebook and Twitter to complete member’s profiles and connect them with others. Niche networks will have greater value in the future and location will be a key component to them.
Locations share software This is Tabbed out which allows you to open a tab at the venue you’re in and settle it all through your mobile. This could be the precursor to a set of shared location services. Carnaby Street retailers are a united bunch you could see them using something like this. So could small businesses across the UK helping each other out to combine against supermarkets.
Help real world services Knowing where you are is important to the emergency services. And your parents if they’re picking you up after the party. And Taxis. And take-aways – it may stop you having to spell it out to them down the phone.
Google The big boys will make a play. Google Maps Navigation is an indication of how Google could use the massive potential of Maps in this space, starting by slaying Tom Toms. Facebook will be interesting – critical mass plus relevance to the offer (friends, events). It could dwarf all of the current players and raise further privacy issues I’m sure.
Thank-you Steven Parker foursquare.com/user/parkenstein
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