While Jake is busy working on his super secret project he’s asked me to fill the rambling spot for him. Hopefully, I can make this a regular place to spout my technolutionary thoughts.
In a previous life I did a lot of work with Oracle’s Location and Spatial products. There really is nothing like putting a map in front of an executive to show him what’s going on in his company. In my previous post I mentioned about Google’s Gears supporting the new W3C location API. Today, Mozilla announced a new plug-in called Geode that uses Loki’s location data to bring that info into Firefox. They use the wifi access point MAC addresses within range of you to calculate your location vs. the triangulation / gpi hybrid most cell providers use.
I’m still a closet location geek. I really love the ability to find out whats going on around me at any given time, who’s there, what events are up, people I should meet who happen to be at the same place. It gets me all giddy to see things like this come together. Back in my travel days I too wondered what it would take to solve the OpenLocation.org manifesto problem. I wondered all too often how many times another car guy was sitting 2 seats behind me on a plane, or an IdM expert was staying at a hotel up the street from me who I could have picked his brain over dineer. If only I had known they were there.
Today everything from cell phones, to automobiles, to dog collars have a GPS onboard. Services like TripIt and Dopplr know about the trip I have coming up, iTunes has all my music, and facebook has all my friends. How do we put them all together and have a good time. It has long puzzled me why the airlines and hotels haven’t gotten into the social network space with their rewards programs. It seems like it just makes sense. They have a ton of info on you already, know when/where you are traveling and can predict when people with similar interests are going to be in the same location. Plus it gives them an avenue to make you a more happy customer that 3 hour layover in Detroit doesn’t seem so bad when you can shoot the breeze with another Apple fanboi. Plus they could then offer discounts at your meeting place like 20% off food or a free drink at the hotel bar.
The current location services are just a pain to use. I’m forced to open an application to update my location for most of them, but that should change with the W3C spec. Pretty soon all our browsers will have plugins to update them on a regular basis, then we need those plugins to tell us when something important is happening next door, or next month when I’m in Omaha.
The current iPhone location apps are getting there, but in tech savvy towns outside the valley, like DC, the adoption is just slow. The potential is there, even for enterprise apps, to use this data to their advantage. Wouldn’t it be nice to know someone you worked on a project with for years is coming to town next month years after you lost touch? Or that your boss just landed early and is on his way into the office (time to get out of bed). Or some co-workers in another group are heading to the same concert as you. The possibilities are endless.
So I’ve rambled long enough. What are your hopes, concerns, and wishes for location enabled systems? How are they going to change your life? or just make it more complicated?