The "Look at me generation"
One of the major buzzes of the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference in San Francisco this week is the new mobile social networking phenomenon. Adapting the models of the likes of Facebook and MySpace and making them portable, these services allow people to create networks of friends on the move.
Following Google’s acquisition of mobile social networking start-up Zingku last month, coupled with the choice of Facebook’s co-founder Dustin Moscovitz to deliver today’s keynote address at this major show, serves to highlight the importance of this new technology.
Social networking services allow friends, families or colleagues to stay in touch wherever they go, primarily (primarily is the important word here!) through their mobile phones.
It also offers GPS geo-tagging of pictures and the ability to leave geo-tagged notes about restaurants, clubs, bars, shops, attractions etc. This alongside services that show where your contacts are on a map allowing you to find each other, communicate and even arrange real-world meetings. Yes, you remember, the face-to-face type of thing, just like in the old days! Joking aside, this new reality may actually facilitate more physical meet-ups if we all know who’s in the neighbourhood, pub or club. However, it may also come in very handy as an avoidance technique!
According to Jupiter Research, 28 percent of teens surveyed are interested in utilising MySpace on their cell phone. Utilising a mobile platform for blogging, messaging, sharing photos, videos and even what mood you’re in, a new fully wired – or should that be wireless - generation is emerging who will not only broadcast their whereabouts, but also their lives, as they happen, to a virtual network of contacts. In effect, a livecast and instant multicast diary with a searchable history of how you and your contacts are progressing through life – a new way of viewing reality.
Like the often regretted youthful tattoo, will your searchable reality come back to haunt you in years to come? At face value, social networking seems to be the antithesis of the more traditional online and offline privacy values. The “Look At Me” generation appears to have no real worries about making their lives public property. Indeed, even leaving aside Facebook and MySpace profiles, the many millions who have already uploaded the potted version of their life via online CVs will likely shrug off any such concerns.
For those of more mature years, too much exposure through a transparent lifestyle tends to be at best uncomfortable and, at worst, embarrassing. This unease is greatly diminished for the new tech-savvy mobile generation and the transparency is in fact, conversely, proving attractive to them.
Creating a personal “fan club” that shares your favourite bookmarks, rated content and pass-it-on comments is alluring to many. Blow-by-blow, as it happened (or how it was reported to have happened), life histories will clearly blur the traditional boundaries between public self and private self.
According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, already 34% of teens that have posted online profiles have kept no part of them hidden from public view.
This begs the question; will this new way of communicating actually alter the way people live? Will networkers live their life differently maybe attempting to publicly present a much cooler or more exciting lifestyle than they previously experienced? Shakespeare said “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players”; will social networking turn us all into a more accomplished bunch of actors?
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Ad Supported/Free GPS and Travel Concierge Announced
Is this the future for GPS; are you one step away from your next SatNav being subsidised by advertising companies?
After years of talk sprinkled with a good measure of hype, location based services are still dragging their feet. The GPS industry is still keenly looking for the most suitable business models, Amongst all the noise, is it possible that the push start needed lies in subsidised, even free, handsets?
adNav, a GPS marketing solutions company, has signalled its upcoming launch of Boomerang, an ad supported mobile concierge system integrated with GPS navigation aimed to help both business and leisure travellers while away from home. Scheduled to launch in November, adNav announced their product at CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment in San Francisco this week.
Powered by Tele Atlas digital map data and content, the system offers unlimited access to services such as restaurant, movie, event and city guides, weather, currency exchange calculators, live flight information and mobile Internet access connected via mobile networks and WiFi. It even contains mobile room service and games to while away the time in your hotel room.
Boomerang will be offered, depending on partner, at little or no cost to the end user.
"The Boomerang will revolutionize the interaction that consumers have with their travel service providers," said Mordy Loksen, Co-Founder and CTO of adNav. "By offering a product with constant connectivity, we have a multitude of exciting applications already and many more in the works that create an accurate, reliable offering that will enhance any trip."
Boomerang will be available to travel service providers through adNav’s partner hotels and car hire companies as an added value concierge service for guests. Local recommendations will be constantly available via a connection through the virtual concierge desk.
When a traveler arrives at an adNav partner hotel or car rental, they will be offered full functioning voice guided GPS navigation, including unlimited access to the web through WiFi and cellular networks.
Additionally, users will have access to hundreds of pages of geo coded city and restaurant guides allowing them to touch the desired destination in the city guide and receive directions through GPS.
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deCarta Announces Traffic Manager
deCarta, a supplier of software platforms and services for the Location Based Services (LBS), have announced Traffic Manager at the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Francisco. It allows their customers to add traffic-enabled maps and routing to their LBS application.
deCarta's routing capabilities together with real-time traffic data from NAVTEQ Traffic contains capabilities for partner companies to include SatNav traffic-aware applications, corporate fleet tracking and high-volume map-based Yellow Page directories, map-enabled search engines and travel sites.
"Consumers and enterprise are both looking for information they can use to make practical and productive driving decisions rather than just guessing based on where the accidents are," said deCarta CEO J. Kim Fennell. "Armed with highly efficient real-time traffic-aware routing applications, both types of end users will find a faster and more efficient path to arriving at their destination."
NAVTEQ Traffic's real-time traffic data currently provides continuously updated traffic flow, delays and drive times as well as incident information across dozens of U.S and Canadian traffic areas. It includes information such as accidents, broken down vehicles, road construction and closures.
"deCarta has proven how to utilize traffic data to maximum effect in applications and they are at the forefront of answering the increasing demand for dynamic content capabilities," said Winston Guillory, senior vice president, consumer and enterprise, NAVTEQ. "The combination of their geospatial platform with the coverage and accuracy of NAVTEQ Traffic will drive a new class of location applications for consumers and enterprises."
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