I have an idea, it’s a good one too. This is gonna be big, we’re talkin’ bigger then YouTube, Facebook and Cute Overload… combined. I’m goin’ to let you in on the secret, but there’s a catch – I need your help. I just need you to answer to the following question: What is the killer service that combines people’s location (g/iPhone) and existing social data (Facebook, OpenSocial) to drive real life interactions and sales? Give up? Me too…
The convergence of the mobile and social web (although over-hyped for years) presents an enormous opportunity. For a long time we’ve heard rumors of a mystical app where you specify you specify you want some new size 13, white, Nike Zoom LeBron VI’s. You walk by FootLocker and all of a sudden you receive a message letting you know they have it in stock, in your size, and if you buy it now, you get 15% off. Or the app that let’s you know the cute chick across the bar is single, and shares your love of Stan Getz and Quentin Tarentino. Perfect? Not really, privacy concerns and unwelcome solicitation can quickly ruin this product. Success with location based services (LBS) can only be achieved by giving users complete control over their privacy, and continuously building trust by providing more useful and accurate services.
I’ve spent some time playing around with the current LBS offerings Loopt and Yelp, but I think there’s a lot more that can be done. This summer I came across an article in the NYTimes describing Sense Networks. I downloaded the CitySense app on my blackberry and was floored, absolutely incredible. It allows you to see in real-time where people are, if the population density is higher or lower then normal in certain areas and recommend places you would like to go based on where you’ve been (currently only for SF).
But this is just a for-fun demonstration of their technology. Some of the tough questions that Macrosense is trying to answer include:
- Where do people make the decision to go to one place versus another? Which places in the city are “influence points” versus “stops en route”?
- From where do the most people come from before arriving at a particular location? Where do most people go afterwards, and how does this change throughout the day?
- What is the demand and elasticity of demand for places, activities and services by income level? What are the most dramatic increases and decreases?
This is dope and extremely profitable. The information could be used for marketers and business trying to determine the right location for their store. The company is backed by hedge funds and I bet are making some scary decisions based on their findings (i.e. economy goes down 10% no one is going into the Apple Store, short the hell out of the stock)
Another great, new product is the Sekai Camera. The concept is not only awesome, but the video is highly entertaining:
As we continue to make our phones smarter with faster and ubiquitous connections and GPS, we can enhance our real world experience by utilizing the thoughts, opinions and opportunities presented by friends and strangers alike. Ideas anyone?