Blog and Ideas
June 8, 2012
By Jorge Chávez

GPS Technology in Mobile Apps

Modern technology accelerates at such a rapid pace that technological advances once relegated to niche markets and thus expensive, become accessible to the general public.

GPS Technology in Mobile Apps

Modern technology accelerates at such a rapid pace that technological advances once relegated to niche markets and thus expensive, become accessible to the general public. GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a prime example. 

Developed by the United States government for defense purposes and subsequently the backbone of today’s global air traffic system, GPS is now available to anyone with a GPS receiver. Hence, becoming increasingly cheaper and often free on smartphones.

Foursquare is one of the applications, or apps, taking advantage of GPS to great results.  Foursquare allows users to interact directly with their environment. 

Foursquare’s 20 million users and counting, “check in” to their location and garner points by doing so.  Users can post their check-ins via Facebook, Twitter or both. The vigilant and continued use of Foursquare is rewarded with a point system, access to special deals and a fun and entertaining allocation of “badges”. 

On June 4, 2012, Foursquare rolled out a new enhancement to their popular app.  Users are now able to use an explore function that will allow them to browse locations by category and conduct detailed searches by category.  For example, users can now search and find nearby Chinese restaurants or parks.  In essence, Foursquare is a geo-marketing tool with great benefits to its users.

Founded in 1998, OpenTable functions as a real-time online reservation system for restaurants.  Free to users, OpenTable allows a comprehensive searching of restaurants, by cuisine, time, dates, location and price point. 

Restaurants partnering with OpenTable pay a monthly fee, along with a per-reservation cost, for inclusion in the popular site and app.  In addition, participating restaurant owners receive a comprehensive reservation system that facilitates keeping track of reservations. OpenTable users are rewarded through a point system. Once enough points have been awarded, they can be redeemed for discounts at member restaurants. Restaurants can in turn use the point system to their advantage by awarding more point during non-peak hours.

Facebook Places was launched in 2010 and was predicted to be the death of Foursquare.  Instead, Facebook Places was retooled as a location-tagging tool, rather than a “check-in” one, leaving Foursquare firmly intact.  Facebook, with its wide user base (800 million+), should be used in conjuction with Foursquare in a business’s marketing efforts.  Businesses can fully take advantage of Facebook’s location-tagging to increase their brand awareness. Facebook users tag businesses in their status update, which is then seen on their news feed. Thus, widening a business’s visibility.

Michelle Mayer is blogger at Mijo! Brands Mexico.

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