Location Based Services Ideas

5 January, 2005 at 20:53 Leave a comment

Some cool ideas of Location Based Services using Mobile Phones from Russell Buckley’s “Netimperative – Are you Local?” post –
“So, what might work? As usual, the true innovation in this sector is happening outside the operators’ influence and that’s where the clues to future successes might be. The key seems to be less obvious applications that bring the real world and the digital one closer together to form the seamless new reality.

Dodgeball, for instance, is a New York service that has successfully combined social networking (this year’s hot VC investment) with location. While it’s great to network with people all over the world, it’s arguably much better if you can actually meet up with them.
Thus, Dodgeball allows users to poll the area for friends and/or “friends of friends” (who have allowed their details to be published) and browse their details digitally. They can then meet up for a drink, a chat or even arrange a date with people who, as Dodgeball indicates, are already close by and available.


This theme of “real world meets virtual”, is further developed by the Yellow Arrow project, also in New York. People are invited to stick a Yellow Arrow on an object or at a location, about which they have something to say. This might be an arty poem or doggerel or it might be something factual. Perhaps a celebrity lived at a particular house or a note is left about a rare wild flower growing by a drainpipe. Once the Yellow Arrow is physically positioned, future visitors can SMS the number printed on the arrow and receive the relevant information. If you project this idea into the future it’s conceivable that we would have a swathe of digital graffiti to enrich our environment. It would be both non-polluting and not even visible. The physical markers would eventually be replaced by location-based markers. Your phone would alert you (if you wanted it to) to the presence of something to see or read.


Imagine, for instance, visiting a lecture theatre where your phone allows you to browse and see recent lectures, perhaps presented by the original lecturer in hologram form. Or a restaurant that might have previous visitors’ reviews and comments appended to it digitally. Already people are accessing the content via some basic mobile services, but with true LBS the process would be seamless. There are many issues to be resolved with this idea, not the least of which is, who is responsible for the quality and accuracy of the information?

These are just two examples of innovation designed with the user in mind. All technology takes longer to be accepted by users than we think. LBS is no exception. Now we have some user-led applications, it could start to slowly take hold and flourish.”

Reminds me of something I was thinking of before – kind of sticky-tags or bar-codes on posters that could be read off by mobiles. Throw RFID into the picture and we can have a compelling business proposition. Hmmm…

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