What are Geo-locators and Location based services?
Geolocation refers to the method of identifying the actual Geographical location of a Computer on the internet or a visitor on your site or even that of a mobile device. Location Based Services (in this context) refers to applications that makes use of GPS on mobile device and allows you to check in to venue and places.
Examples of Location Based services (LBS)
- Google Places and Latitude
- Food Spotter
- Facebook Places
Intro to Geo-Locators (Location based services)
While researching this post, the question I got from most people is; Would it ever work in Nigeria? Here’s a pointed response that I received from a mobile software engineer:
“I don’t use anything (any location based service) and in my humble opinion it of no value to us Africans due to lack of GPS phones and no business model.”
While testing the GPS service on my Nokia E71, some of my friends kept asking if I thought that geo-locators have benefits in Nigeria. With all I discovered, I decided it was not worth writing this post. On second thoughts though, I decided to share my findings. Someone out there could be as curious as I am to wonder why businesses are not using location based services.
Benefits of LBS
LBS can be valuable to both users and businesses. There is need, however for more users to have access to mobile devices that are equipped with GPS in order to benefit from any offer via the different LBS services available.
There is also need for business models to be available to help businesses tap into LBS.
Following are some benefits, assuming that there are available users and a viable business model included by the owners of the location based application.
Benefits to Business
- You can build brand advocates and ambassadors
- You can gain new customers
- Enhance audience intelligence
- Retain customers by rewarding their advocacy
Benefits to users
- Enjoy Discounts and deals
- Find venue easily if you are in a new location
- Make use of recommendations by several users before deciding, eg reviews of an hotel
- Take part in games and challenges that rewards you
There is an underlying factor given by sceptics, than can hinder the acceptance of LBS even if we have more GPS enable mobile devices. That would be privacy. You carry your mobile with you everywhere you go, when you start using location based service, it can pose some security risk.
I have been playing around with Google latitude and Foursquare for a while now, just out of curiosity. There are certainly some benefits that I have derived. I was to go to a restaurant at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, but did not know the exact number. So instead of getting there and asking passers-by, I pulled out my Nokia E71, launched Google maps, checked for the place and found it.
If you are a business, you should go ahead and claim your spot on the Google map by going to Google Places. This would improve your search rank on google search.
There you have it. Have you toyed around with any location based serviced recently? What did you find?
What do you think location based services would have for businesses in Nigeria and Africa as we have more people on mobile than on computer web? Would you be trying anyone out soon?
P.S: here is a mail I got from a user in Germany:
Nice talking to you! I’m using location based services at first ’cause it makes fun! But second I kind of have to – I’m a social media editor and we’ve to try every new trend.
I think LBS have a lot of potential especially for small local business. they can try many different deals or specials to “catch” new costumer. I really do hope there will be a lot of different offers in future. Right now it isn’t that much – although I live in Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany.
Well, I use it the way it is meant to be, I guess. When I arrive at one location I try to locate it on Foursquare and check in. Sometimes there’s an offer and sometimes not. At this time I have had only small deals like a drink for free or extra popcorn or toppic and stuff like that.
Greetz from Hamburg!
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