Here’s a new version of mobile blogging — using maps.
WaveMarket have just announced a new “location-based blogging system” that enables users to send and view information that is time and location specific. Korea’s SK Telecom will be the first to use the technology, called WaveIQ, which they hope to launch soon.
It works like this (the website does not do a good job of explaining how it all fits together, so I may get this wrong): You use your phone as a sort of mobile blogging tool, posting information and/or pictures — say a restaurant review — to a central blog, organised by space and time. Others can then see that posting (stored, I guess, either by date, location or type) by either reading the blog as text, or seeing postings by location on a map viewable on their handphone.
Another feature is WaveSpotter, which allows you to wander around and by seeing where you are on a map, look for content near you — restaurant reviews, or whatever, or more personal stuff you or people you know have recorded, such as where you first dated your spouse (you mean you forgot already?)
One other feature is WaveAlert, which ‘enables wireless operators ”to notify you when you are near something important to you, like a speed trap before its too late, or a good friend who happens to be in your area”.
Here’s WaveMarket’s vision: “We enable a single screen archive to catalog an anywhere, any time visual history. Suppose 20 years from now, you want to see what happened here today, where the future of technology is being shaped. WaveMarket will have your photos and postings of what happened in this room at this time. WaveMarket can maintain a daily history of what happens anywhere — from this time forward. Events — big and small — state primaries, Middle Eastern conflicts, neighborhood improvement projects, family reunions or baby’s birthday can all be captured, broadcast, shared and archived. In short, WaveMarket enables you to see a visual history of the world, from today forward, written by the people of the world as it occurs.”
Um. OK, that sounds pretty radical. Thinking more short term, I can see this may be a neat service, and one that could really catch on, especially with those night-time folk who seem to spend more time communicating via SMS or voice with friends they’re not with than the ones they are with. But it may also have more practical benefits for cellphone users, such as figuring out the nearest hospital, the nearest bookshop, or how far from home your son is.
Of course, behind all this are some serious marketing opportunities. The last bit, in particular, sounds like a serious opportunity for firing off location-based ads via SMS/MMS. And of course there’s the privacy aspects: The whole service depends on being able to monitor your location in real time, something you may not be too excited about. Another downside: If one company has a daily history of your movements, your postings, your interests and whatnot, that’s valuable commercial data and you may want to think twice before having that stored somewhere. Not to speak of the interest law enforcement agencies may have in it. You may have done nothing wrong, but how about someone stole your phone and committed a crime with it in their pocket? Who ya gonna believe?
That all said, WaveMarket (the name, by the way, is telling) is the future. Handphones so far have not made full use of the fact that they are, among other things, very effective homing devices. Put that data on maps and hook it up with other time and spatial data and you have some powerful services — and marketing opportunities. And these guys clearly have overcome the huge data processing requirements of this kind of service. Must head off to Seoul and see how they use it.