When location goes 3D

by Bruce Kasanoff on October 19, 2011

Like Flat Stanley, your smartphone lives in a 2D world. Its GPS identifies your location in terms of directions on a compass, but not altitude.

Let’s imagine what will be possible when phones add altimeters. Customer experience will change dramatically, as innovative and/or aggressive firms develop new tactics:

  • The energy company can know that you are upstairs in your bedroom, not in the living room beneath, and can thus turn down the heat in the living room.
  • Your hotel can know whether or not you are in your room, making housekeeping less intrusive.
  • Fitness programs can far more accurately measure exertion, as they factor in hills.
  • Depending on accuracy, you may eventually be able to create instant virtual models of your room or house by moving your phone around the perimeters of each space. Of course, Kinnect can already map a 3D model of your room.

That’s the good news. Now imagine what aggressive marketers might be able to do, potentially without your knowledge or permission:

  • Identify the company for which you work, by identifying the floor on which you work.
  • Identify the companies on which your sales team calls.
  • Track how many times each day you go to the bathroom, perhaps to identify targets for indigestion medications.
  • Guess what time you go to sleep, if you live in a two or three story house.

The sensors are coming. It’s going to be a whole new world…

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