I’ve been thinking lately about the need for a service or app, maybe called the “Lost Wife App,” that would help me find my wife when we are out shopping. No matter where we go or what we’re doing, it seems as though she disappears and I’m left in limbo staring at the walls and ceilings.
It doesn’t matter that we have $600 smartphones and wireless telephone service, the ability to text, etc. I would like to know definitively if she would prefer I got lost for a while so that I can turn my mind and attention to other things. If this sounds like a cry for help, it is.
Billions of “Man Hours” Lost as Husbands Wait for Wives
It just so happens that I’m a prime target, or should be, for a new type of service known as “location based services” (LBS). We’ve all heard promises that new wireless technology will soon be used for tracking customers in shops and supermarkets, offer real-time discounts, and put an end to lines at cash registers as people’s transactions will take place invisibly as they exit. Location based services and people like me were made for each other!
July Systems, a well-known location-based services company, offers Proximity MX that helps clients in the retail, mall, stadium, education, and hospitality markets develop “location awareness,” allowing them to engage visitors wirelessly on mobile devices. Many of these services involve downloading mobile applications that customers sign into and configure according to personal preferences and demographic information. Some apps help users find the nearest and cheapest gas station, friends and family, etc.
Consumers are doing their part by adding location information to their posts on social media. “Hi, I am in Macy’s department store in New York City.” While this may not yet lead to a barrage of discount offers and sales notices, it soon will. According to market research companies, the location-based services market will reach nearly $62 billion by 2020.
In the video below, a new company named Buzz is helping consumers (maybe even husbands) benefit from locations with an LBS mobile app. The app provides discounts to stores, restaurants, and markets in the area, and when consumers respond with a purchase they have made through the app they are rewarded with points so they can, in the words of George Carlin, buy more stuff.