Smart phones these days play a pivotal role in our everyday lives, regardless of who we are or what we do. Do you operate a business from home? Wait, WiMo7 should get that spread sheet or word document open. Checking management emails? Thank you BlackBerry. Searching for the nearest restaurant and need directions? Google Android will give you recommendations as well as step by step instructions on how to get there. Just trying to beat your friends in Words with Friends or Angry Birds? iPhone check. Regardless of what the situation is, there is probably a mobile device and application that will sort out your problems and it will allow you to do it while on the move.
What I want to focus on are the mobile apps that can work to your advantage being a business. I have already covered two mainstream apps in my previous post which focused on checking-in, but now I want to focus your attention on what has enabled applications such as Foursquare and Facebook check-ins to work, along with 3 other mobile technological advancements that you yourself probably hold in the palm of your hands – NFC, Bluetooth, and the ubiquitous 5 megapixel camera.
Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) is the technology driving check-ins. It allows your application to identify where you are on the globe (the application communicates with the internal GPS and retrieves this information, both latitude and longitude), and based on the data held on their server or database, identifies what other establishments are within the vicinity so you can check-in to them. There are other applications that use this technology as well (for example Domo, Grindr, Google Latitude), all with a social focus along the lines of serendipity, partners, and friends.
Near Field Communication (NFC) works based on transmitting radio frequencies. Thus data can be either active (both devices are powered) or passive (the initiator is powered by the target’s electromagnetic field). Where is this technology apparent you may ask? Check your newest Visa or Mastercard and they will most likely have a microchip with the words payWave or PayPass next to it. Think only credit cards can have this? Think again. Google’s next branded phone the Nexus S has NFC capabilities inbuilt so you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be, if there isn’t already, an application that is being developed to maximise this technology.
Bluetooth (no acronym for this one!) is patented technology which allows data to be transmitted, usually between two devices, once they have acknowledged each other. Devices can be paired and stored to memory, and is most commonly used by Bluetooth headsets for mobile phones. There is a relatively new application though called Toothtag, which allows users to register themselves with multiple devices, (both static and mobile), so that when scanned and if in range, they will be notified. The uses of this can be endless, but the ones promoted are the ability to find your car if you can’t find it in a parking lot, finding your friends in a nearby vicinity, and also checking-in to establishments (who have Bluetooth and Toothtag enabled).
Last but not least, the camera on the back of your phone (some of you may have 2 cameras on the one device). Sometimes overlooked as just a photo taking tool, it can actually be very informative. For example did you know that there is an iPhone application that translates text onscreen to another desired language? Just hover your camera lens at the word, and it will translate right before your eyes. AMAZING! Or did you know that Google has developed an application called Google Goggles, wherein the aim is to return relevant information based on what the photographed item is? How is that possible?!
I don’t mean to overload you with gadgets and technological jargon, but I just wanted to share with you some things that you might not have known were at the mercy of your fingertips! Now you as the user of the device – what would you want to see developed for you that would be interesting, fun, informative, or useful?
Go on, ask yourself those questions as if you were in your office chair, walking to your next C-level meeting, looking for the hidden gem restaurant, or getting ready to dominate the next best social game. Is your business ready or is it yet to harness the power of technology held in so many hands?