Ask any social media or mobile prognosticator and they will tell you that Location Based Services (LBS) were/are one of the hottest trends to watch in 2010. I’m sure there are some already “going out on a limb” and saying it will be a trend to watch in 2011 as well. Even though they were all right, LBS still has not lived up to it’s billing yet and its almost half way through the year. Chances are it will though and we want to explore some of the applications that will take LBS from cute app store add-on to app store “must have”.
Let’s start first by defining what LBS is for those who still are not quite sure. One way to do this is using the entry from Wikipedia:
”A location-based service (LBS) is an information and entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device”, Wikipedia
The other way is to just say it in plain english:
“Location Based Service allows a device (mobile, iPad, Kindle, car, etc) to identify your where abouts and offer new opportunities to better service, market, track or sell things where your location makes a difference”, Jason Breed
We are just starting to figure out how best to apply LBS in a way that consumers will use it and in a way that will move the results needle for corporate marketers. Right now, LBS is mostly being applied to local search, navigation and some social media tools. Most of what you hear about is consumer oriented and look like (taken directly from Wikipedia entry):
- Requesting the nearest business or service, such as an ATM or restaurant
- Turn by turn navigation to any address
- Locating people on a map displayed on the mobile phone
- Receiving alerts, such as notification of a sale on gas or warning of a traffic jam
- Location-based mobile advertising
From a consumer’s perspective, this is interesting and something I’ll keep in mind next time I get a craving for a taco. This kind of thinking is why LBS has not yet become really useful or a “must have”. This is a very consumer centric approach to providing capability. Think about it from a corporate perspective for a minute though. What if:
TAXIs: you are in New York, it’s raining and your taxi company is the only one who can allow consumers to see where an open taxi is or even “bid” on a trip by seeing what others on the same street corner will pay to get a cab. When you are running late to an important meeting, there’s a real need to win a taxi by guaranteeing a tip.
Retail Outlets: Imagine knowing who your visitors are and having employees rate their purchasing value. Next time they come you may treat “high rollers” differentlythan “time wasters”. Think about that loyalty program for a minute.
Services: add LBS to local search and know when an area has a a lot of people sick, send a mobile flu-shot van. Identify needs then meet those needs with services on the go.
There are lots of ways to use LBS that will create new opportunities for the most innovative companies early on. Whether tracking shipments, products, employees, customers, equipment or potential demand with LBS, there are many ways that are just being explored. Our host this week, Jason Keath, will help us explore the relevance of Location Based Services for businesses. Jason has his finger on the pulse of “trends to watch” and their application to marketers through his Social Fresh Conferences. Jason has a knack for creating hot topics and bring the best minds together to help businesses distill where they need to focus their limited resources and time.
Topic: Location Based Services & their Value to Corporate Marketers
- Will location based services (LBS) lead to real revenue gains for large brands?
- Will the future user base of location based services (LBS) look more like Twitter or Facebook?
- What is the most significant challenge that locations based servcies (LBS) face?
Join us in this very relevant topic on Tuesday June 1 at noon eastern. Follow along on Twitter with #sm62 or through our live page at www.hashtagsocialmedia.com/live.