Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mobile Applications and Location Context

The other day a group of us mobile technology consultants met at the Chicago airport before driving out to a client's location.  Having missed lunch, we decided to search for a quick bite to eat. 

We found a Subway Sandwich location right off a freeway exit.  However, once we arrived we found that the restaurant had one-inch thick bullet proof glass separating the customers from the restaurant staff, and a group of men were guarding the entrances to the parking lot and making non-stop transactions through the windows of a long line of cars.

Our mobile applications and mobile maps helped us quickly find a restaurant, but our mobile apps did nothing to help us know if the locations were healthy or safe.  I want a mobile application that will show me more than simply data points.  I don't just want to know where food is sold, but where it is safe to consume it.  Who wants to find an unsafe restaurant in which to eat?

This experience, has made me really appreciate the value of mobile applications that include contextual features and capabilities.  I want to know the following:

  • Type of food
  • Menus
  • Location
  • Health inspection record
  • Local crime statistics
  • Local automobile accident statistics
  • Customer feedback 
  • Additional demographic data that may be useful
I would suggest, after my recent experience, that having better data on the health and safety of the restaurant and location is far more important than the food served inside the establishment.

What do you think?  Where else could value be added?

Smartsoft Mobile Solutions has a great deal of experience in developing mobile retail applications.

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Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant, mobility analyst, writer and Web 2.0 marketing professional. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.