A New Approach to Finding Locations

A start up called What3Words has mapped and renamed every location on Earth. Using an algorithm to scan GPS co-ordinates, they created 57 trillion 3 meter by 3 meter squares that each have unique three word address. For example, ‘Tools.sand.stone’ refers to a spot in Central Park in New York and ‘Sportscar.citronella.photocopiers’ is a square of the Antarctic Ocean.

They created this map in order to increase accuracy in navigation for businesses and individuals in a simple yet global way. 75% of countries don’t have their own organized addressing system, according to the UN, so the possibilities that this system opens up are far-reaching.

Consumers can download the free app in 25 languages to get directions. But the real value comes when What3Words partners with brands and government agencies. Pizza Hut and Dominoes are using these addresses in places like Mongolia and the Caribbean to deliver pizzas to remote locations. And several models of Mercedes are using What3Words for their built-in navigation systems.

Why It’s Hot

The applications for more precise, universal locations are a win-win for businesses and consumers. UPS estimates saving each of its drivers one mile per day would result in a $50 million in overall savings. For consumers, the benefits range from increased accuracy for driving directions to life-saving emergency vehicles arriving on the scene more quickly.

Source: https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/10/08/startup-simplify-location/

Ending FOMO with Google

Google News will start to display hyperlocal events and localized community updates from bloggers to help people stay in the loop of what’s happening in their backyard.

To help people get information about their own communities, Google uses machine learning techniques to source information from hyperlocal bloggers and high school newspapers.


Why it’s hot: Google Community Updates could be a useful communications medium for products/services that need to be targeted on a hyperlocal level, e.g. telecom services, Small Businesses and their desire to be deeply rooted in their communities because the health of their businesses depend on it.

Foot Locker’s video suggests untapped potential to target users based on location

Foot Locker’s effort made the top Instagram video chart among retailers, picking up nearly 28,000 likes and comments since Jan. 29 with a post for its Penn Station location in New York City.

But Foot Locker’s successful post ran nationwide, since Instagram doesn’t offer marketers a location-targeting feature, raising an intriguing question: Should the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing app incorporate the ability to zero in on consumers based on their whereabouts?

The short answer is yes. Location-based targeting features are a must for large retailers with multiple locations, and mobile is the key to driving customers  to the local store, which gives Instagram, both a visual and mobile platform, the upper-hand in the mobile, traffic-funneling retail game.


Why this is hot?

Brands will be able to serve relevant videos to users on Instagram, whenever they need it, and wherever they are, increasing traffic to their locations in a more engaging way.


Source: AdWeek


Snapchat Adds Location-Based Filters

Snapchat just added a collection of geo-filters to its popular app, allowing users to add fun labels and drawings based on their location. The new art and labels are specific to certain cities and destinations. For example, if you’re snapping a shot at Disneyland, you’ll be able to swipe right to see art related to the amusement park.

The feature officially launched on Tuesday, but Snapchat has been quietly testing geo-location filters for awhile. Users must enable location services for the feature to work, which means Snapchat isn’t storing your location data.


Why It’s Hot

The news of geo-location filters comes a few days after Snapchat users received a surprise collection of curated snaps from Brazil during the final games of the FIFA World Cup. The previous use of live event stories with EDC Vegas required users to manually “add” the EDC Live event to view, but the Rio Live account appeared automatically under contacts for all users to enjoy.

As other companies try to compete with Snapchat by adding similar features (FB Messenger, iOS8 iMessage, etc), Snapchat’s new geo-location features allow the company to hold onto its unique appeal. Geo-location offerings add new dimensions to the once photo-only messaging app and create new ways in which users and brands interaction with one another.

Read more here

Say Goodbye to the Foursquare Check-In (Sort of)

On Thursday, Foursquare announced that it was eliminating the “check-in” feature of its mobile app. Instead, Foursquare will refocus its app towards the business recommendations and location functionality, rather than the feature that has long defined the brand.

As part of the announcement, Foursquare announced a new SoMoLo app dedicated to helping users find where their friends are: Swarm.  Swarm will essentially operate as a “heat map” to help users find nearby friends.  The check-in will be a feature of swarm, allowing for shared check-ins.  Foursquare says Swarm is different from the competition by allowing users to check into broader areas or neighborhoods, rather than individual locations that might seem too intrusive.  Swarm will launch with a private release to users who sign up for a wait list.

Why It’s Hot

Foursquare’s announcement follows the growing trend towards social institutions decoupling key features into standalone apps (such as Facebook’s “Messenger” announcement). But more than part of a trend, I believe that Foursquare is reinvigorating itself as a SoMoLo leader, while also opening the brand up to a much greater set of users who have spurned the network for its historic focus on check-ins.  Foursquare’s broader strategy may help make the struggling network relevant again, now that the fire beneath location-based tools has cooled.

Fast Company

Apple’s iBeacon specs made available

After rolling out their iBeacon technology in Apple stores and then 150 grocery stores in Cleveland, Seattle, and San Francisco, Apple is releasing the specs for the technology as part of its “Made for iPhone” licensing program. This program allows developers among others to have access to hardware components, tools, documentation, tech support, etc.

iBeacon is Apple’s brand of technology for data transfer between devices using Bluetooth Low Energy. This technology, not exclusive to Apple, consumes a small amount of battery power, making it useful for micro-location geo-fencing. It also allows detailed tracking and rich data exchange without an intermediary or physical activation. (PCMag.com)

iBeacon enables other blue-tooth enabled devices to recognize when your phone is nearby. Those beacons can then send data to the phone in the form of a pop-up coupon, loyalty rewards, shopping list reminders (eg, did you buy milk?) or commands that open doors, turn on lights, or initiate tracking.


iBeacon from Apple

iBeacon at work


Why It’s Hot

iBeacon sets up to be a direct competitor to near-field communications (NFC) technologies. From my research, it appears that iBeacon may have a lot of advantages over NFC. For instance, iBeacon is effective to up to 160 feet away from a device, versus NFC, that is more in area of 8 inches. iBeacon also may be much less expensive to implement for retailers than NFC technologies. With Apple making the specs available through their licensing program, iBeacon may expand into more stores nationwide and potentially integrate into our shopping experiences.