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Wap Technology and GPS

30th September 2002

Article by Dave Burrows


I was listening to an archive of Online Tonight with David Lawrence (a syndicated US pop-culture/tech show) the other day in my car whilst commuting and there was a discussion about how WAP is changing for the better and new services are coming online to allow people to purchase or browse menu's when they're in the vicinity of a store.


This led me to think about how GPS could change this technology.  Currently there are new services coming out as we speak that will triangulate your position via mobile phone, allow you to use a WAP GPRS phone to then order items like a hotdog when you're at a ball game, or purchase a ticket to a car park whilst your driving to it so you don't have to wait in line and queue.  These could be very good value added services that will in a way replace the standard shopping experience like we used to do with buying a meal.  Sure, we used to go into a fast food restaurant for a burger, but do we now ?  No, in most cases we'll go to the drive through counter.  What if there's a cue ?  We still go there, it's less hassle!  We're becoming lazy and would rather sit in our climate controlled cars, listening to the radio then go and park your car, walk in, wait at the counter then pay for your take away.


GPS could change the way we look at doing things on a day to day basis.  Motorola have recently announced small GPS chips that could be placed into watches, and this is something Casio have been doing for several years now, so why can't it be done with mobile technology ?

Nokia 6650 and O2 XDA


Navman GPS 3420 and TomTom Navigator

Just imagine a busy Saturday, you want to pop into town to buy a few items, before commencing your journey you plot where you want to go to, you then via GPS and GPRS or perhaps 3G technology then get given a menu on your Pocket PC or mobile phone via the internet which shows you firstly where you could park, which car parks are closest, which have spaces free, you then tag a car park, with a space allocation to say you want this car parking space.  Hold on a minute, you haven't even left home, but it's achievable.  The signal gets sent to the car park which is connected to the internet, immediately a car parking space is tagged with your mobile phone number, you commence your journey, the GPS routes you down several roads, whilst picking up signals from beacons on the road that alert you to accidents or congestion, so GPS avoids these and re-routes you to take the quickest journey.  


You arrive at the car park stress free, the barrier scans your Mobile device and finds the number attached, then lifts the arm on the barrier to allow you in, you then park in the space that's been allotted for you, you don't pay a penny in cash.  Why ?  Because your credit card is on file with the Mobile Phone Service, and this just gets added as a charge to your regular phone or service bill.  Now you've arrived safely at the car park, you get out, start walking through the shopping centre/mall, you enter a few shops, they have a beacon that sees you entering the store and again reads your device to get an authorisation number from it to open your account again for a potential spend.  You walk around, purchase a few items by bar code reading the item via your Mobile Device, you then put it into your bag.  Again, no need to pay, because it's just sent the information to the store system which in-turn will bill you via your mobile service, so you just walk out of the store with the goods, again no queuing!

You go back to the car, drive out of the car park (again no payment with cash), and you then drive to the stadium where you will watch a football or ball game.  Again no queuing as you've already purchased a ticket several weeks ago, it's assigned to the serial number of your mobile device, so again you can walk straight through the turnstiles without problem or exchanging cash. 


You sit down at the seat you purchased, because the stadium is open air, you whip out your Mobile Device and start browsing a food menu, select the items you want, the Mobile Device sends the relevant information along with your GPS co-ordinates to the food stand, and rather than waiting for them to come a long and you to shout out you want a hotdog, they come and deliver it to you at your seat.


Sounds so simplistic doesn't it, why couldn't it be achieved now?  There is absolutely no reason why it cannot be trialled now, the technology exists, the online services need to be matured slightly and due to people keeping mobile phones for an average of a year to 18 months before they change model, within a 5 year period the system could be fully implemented.  Sounds utterly perfect doesn't it ?  Okay, now back to the real world <g>.  People are purchasing more and more goods over the internet now because they have to queue up, trying to find a car parking space, you then have to wait in queues in shops, and it's a lot easier purchasing the goods over the internet where you don't have to wait, apart from the period of time it takes to mail you the item, so wouldn't it be good if you could get the same level of internet ordering at a local store without all the unnecessary hassles of congestion and life in general ?  It's got me sold.  Now all we have to do is wait for someone to invent the service!


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