In a series of articles over the next few months I am going to take a look at the world of cyber geography, or location based services – a name which does little to convey the power of this niche area of the web, an area, in which applications are growing at an exponential rate and acting as the catalyst for some very innovative business applications.
Any physical business will tell you that just how successful you are will have a lot to do with being in the ‘right place’ at the ‘right time’. Even today “location, location, location” remains the mantra of many executive teams. Here are just a few of the statements regularly heard in the boardroom:
• we have to be where our customers are;
• we need to be close to our suppliers;
• we need to be near a pool of skilled labour;
• we need an office with the right address; and
• we must be on every continent and in every high street.
Only recently, I was reminded about the importance of geography when a major chain store decided not to open a store in my hometown. Their justification, too few people within a 30-mile radius of the store and the wrong population profile.
BUT just how important is geography in the world of cyber business – surely geography is dead, after all your office can be anywhere, your customer base global and, in many cases, your products digital! So does location still matter?
In short the answer is an astounding YES – but for very different reasons than at the end of the last century.
It is a very different kind of geography that is transforming the way ‘SMART’ companies are using knowledge about ‘YOUR’ location to improve their business models.
Knowing where you are, how you behave and anticipating what you might, or might not do next is big business!
To start off this series of blogs I would like to show you just how powerful adding geography can be!
The App I am going to take a look at is SONGKICK.
Before I start, you need to know a little bit about the customer for this App to fully appreciate its power. In this case that customer is me! You see as well as having an interested in social media, geography and the web I also love live music – anything goes – but to be honest you can’t beat good classic rock. The challenge is, of course, finding out when the bands you like are in town, where they are playing and how to get tickets?
I can’t quite count the number of times I have missed a gig because either I didn’t know it was on, or I found out after all the tickets had gone to those better informed than I.
This is where SONGKICK – ‘kicks’ in, a life changing App, and more importantly a clever way of getting me to part with my money. So what does it do? and how does it work?
First you need to know that there are two versions, one that works with your PC or Mac and the second that works on a SmartPhone. Both do a similar thing, but it is the SmartPhone App that I will concentrate on here.
In short SONGKICK raids your ITunes library to identify the music you like, then checks the date and your predefined, or current location and alerts you to:
– which of the bands, with tracks in your iTunes library are on tour;
– if any of these bands are in your neigbourhood; and
– where you can get tickets (which on-line agencies are promoting the concert).
….And it doesn’t stop there. You can go on and:
– choose to buy a ticket;
– share the info with a friend via email or one of a number of social networking sites;
– add a note to your Facebook page indicating that you are going;
– click through to the band’s web site to buy the latest CD/download; and
– if you are really keen, find out where the band are playing next!
What is clever in SONGKICK is that different information is being combined to provide you with context specific, personalized recommendations that you can control, a key one being your location (geography).
The result is that through clever use of ‘local’ data mining, determining your position and intelligent web searching, the App encourages you to spend more on tickets than you would have done in a pre SONGKICK era; a very clever little App indeed.
Next time – I will be looking at the ‘geographical’ technology that underpins Apps like SONGKICK, in particular Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and provide you with some background on where these technologies have come from and how they work.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from everyone about your favourite ‘Geography’ App – especially if it has convinced you to part with your hard earned money.