Monday, January 04, 2010

Location Based Services and Mobile Device Customization

Many SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) that use smartphones such as iPhones would benefit from the ability to add business information, alerts, tags and advice to a specific location on a map. Large enterprises can achieve these features by investing in business analytics, GIS solutions, route optimization applications, mobile data collection solutions and integrate them all with CRMs, but these enterprise solutions are often cost prohibitive for SMEs. They need these features all on a simple mobile application that is either connected to a web service or independent on the device.

Let's consider a few scenarios:
  • A taxi driver has found a very good place to pick-up riders. He/she wants to mark this location on a map and include other relevant information such as day of week, time of day and the reason this is a good location.
  • A house painting contractor driving through a neighborhood notices that it has a large number of houses that may need painting in the near future. The contractor pulls over, marks a map on his iPhone and enters the details.
  • A landscape company owner notices a new housing development is going in. He pulls over and marks his map and enters the details.
  • A neighborhood watch member notices ongoing suspicious activities and marks the location on his/her iPhone map and relevant details.
  • Citizens report potholes in the road to the appropriate government agencies. They mark the location on their maps and then call in the details or enter the data in a government sponsored website.
  • A parent enters the location of their children's friends' homes, by marking them on a map so they can quickly find them and know where they are located.

Any information that is location based and would help a person plan their business or personal life better would be useful. It would be beneficial if these applications were easily customizable so that individual users could quickly and easily edit them for their specific needs.

Can you think of other features that would be useful?
Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Marketing Consultant
twitter: @krbenedict