From discovering great local deals to connecting with friends, location-based services (LBS) have dominated the mobile industry. "Checking in" at a new location has become the easiest way to find related services and explore nearby attractions. It also provides the satisfying social experience of showing the world that you're in-the-know about the latest hotspots and happenings. Read on to discover more information about LBS for mobile.
A short history
LBS' roots are connected to the Bluetooth system, which was used for marketing in the early 2000s. The system would use a local broadcasting device, which would send photos, video or text ads to nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Although Bluetooth marketing from the previous decade has addressed many design flaws, the industry moved on. LBS evolved to connect physical billboards and ads with SMS – ads called out for passersby to text a word or number to a phone number and in turn, they would receive exclusive promos, content and more.
Ads evolved to include QR codes so that customers could snap a picture and access web content or other special features.
Today, LBS are closely tied to social media, as every imaginable network has integrated location into its overall vision. From Groupon, which took m-couponing to a whole new level by allowing customers to save big on local goods and services, to Instagram, which creates a visual map of creative images across the globe, checking in and tagging locations is a major part of the way we socialise and shop today. No longer do you have to waste time searching for nearby hardware stores, restaurants or other businesses – location-based search in 2015 is precise and ever-growing.
Samsung introduced S Voice, a groundbreaking new voice-recognition app with helpful location-based services to maximise your Galaxy device experience.
In hands-free mode, you can activate S Voice Drive by double-tapping the home button and saying "driving mode on" and "
navigation." From there, S Voice can help you get to your destination with step-by-step directions.
Want to know what to wear once you get there? You can prepare for inclement weather by asking S Voice to give you a weather forecast for your current and upcoming destinations. S Voice also offers a convenient customised wake-up command for your phone that you can record to get you out of bed faster each day, in addition to the ability to search contacts, auto-play music, create a new event, set a timer, change control settings such as turning on your WiFi, and much more.
What can LBS do for you?
When you're searching for something on your phone, you don't want to find results located hundreds – if not thousands – of miles away. One study found that 94% of people doing mobile searches hope to find local results. Icons for "click to call" are becoming increasingly popular for local businesses, as the majority of internet searches happening from mobile are looking for basic business information like pricing, hours or location.
Advertise what you need
Say goodbye to being harassed by irrelevant ads clogging up your mobile browser experience. As online ad technology gets smarter and location-based controls become more precise, your web experience improves markedly. Now, the ads you see can be for services or locations that are close to your current location, in case you remember to drop off your dry cleaning around the corner or try out a new eatery that opened in your neighbourhood. Bonus for businesses – the click-through rates are getting higher by the year.
The social media apps that you already use are experimenting with LBS to grab your attention and enhance your online experience. Instagram, Twitter, Google, Groupon and many other apps are getting on board with LBS to not only allow you to "check in," but to discover unique offers and insiders-only tips related to your location.
Facebook is test-driving "Place Tips," where users can access helpful insights about a place, such as signature dishes, great photo ops and more.
Boost small businesses
One of the most exciting elements of LBS is its growing power to drive traffic to previously-disadvantaged small businesses. Around 44% of users say that they would opt in to receiving deals on their mobile devices, and 78% of users regularly access retail sites through mobile apps. However, approximately only 26% of small businesses have a mobile-friendly website. Those that have a dedicated mobile presence, open themselves up to unprecedented opportunities for profit and engagement from their loyal fans.
As location-based services continue to flourish in the mobile realm, new challenges arise. Privacy issues have once again taken center stage of the marketing debate – how much information do users want to share? How can we keep users' privacy protected while ensuring that they have access to handy local information? One thing is for certain – mobile giants, app creators and social networks have gotten on the bandwagon and are invested in making information and products more accessible than ever before.