Friday, 30 May 2008


Last week in Singapore, the number two mobile phone network operator, StarHub, announced the launch of a location-based mobile advertising service. The press release says:

For advertisers, the service offers an easy and effective marketing strategy that can help them generate almost immediate sales by pushing specific marketing or promotional SMS messages to StarHub Mobile customers when they are in the proximity of the pre-defined zone, such as in a shopping mall.

For StarHub Mobile customers, they benefit from special promotions and discounts from participating retail merchants. They will not be charged for receiving these location-based advertising SMS messages

This is an interesting development, not so much because it is a technological leap, but because it brings the Geoweb one step closer. The use of promotions is perhaps too blunt an instrument, and could be intrusive, but from this step you can start to see where this could go. Google is taking a bold leap for ownership of this space with Google Maps, and Android (more about this another time). It's a big prize fight, as it's pretty much agreed that most people around the world will ultimately access the web from their mobiles. In developing countries this will be even more important.

StarHub is an interesting innovation, but SMS is not the answer. The real big step will be the ability to push or pull location based web tools, functionality, and content. When this starts to happen expect to see changes in our physical spaces. We already see fewer and fewer telephone boxes on the streets. Expect to see more digital posters with bluetooth or wireless functionality, expect to see digital street signs with local information, and outdoor kiosks. And a little like that film Minority Report, expect to see Posters that talk directly with you/to you. Also expect to see new devices in stores that interact with mobiles, not just for payment but for delivering personal profiles and shopping preferences. The mobile is already a very personal device, and its just about to get even more personal, and helping turn a big world into a small world.


Tim Noble said...

Nice blog. Very interesting.

Saul said...

Erik Jorgensen, a senior executive in Microsoft's online operations, reiterates your point Tony. In a recent FT article he said the firm thought geoweb would bring about "a paradigm shift. We believe it will be a way that people can socialise, shop and share information." At the moment, there's a gold rush for mapping businesses. Tom Tom, for instance, is buying TeleAtlas and Nokia will no doubt purchase Navteq. The firm that successfully integrates maps into search technology will wind up being more powerful than Google, provided the search giant doesn't beat everyone else to the pot of geoweb gold.

Tony Effik said...

The gold rush for maps is an interesting trend. I think Google will win the race to integrate search with maps, it has too much of an in-built advantage for the others. I think there are, however, other interesting things outside of search including on-the-move shopping applications, and m-payments opportunities to develop. And thousands of things we haven't even yet thought to dream about.

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