Will Location-Based Services Break Out in 2011?

    December 2, 2010
    Chris Crum

Location-based services continue to get a great deal of attention as more services pop up, existing ones add features and integrations, and businesses find ways to take advantage of them. You can bet that this space is only just getting started. Over the next year, we’re going to see a lot of innovation in location-based services/check-in apps. 

Mark DiPaola, CEO of CheckPoints, a fast-growing mobile shopping app that lets users earn points towards prizes for checking in and scanning products at stores, shared some thoughts on where the location-based service industry is headed. 

Mak DiPaola of Checkpoints talks location-based services"Gone is the novelty of checking in simply for ‘bragging rights,’ he tells WebProNews. "Consumers will require real value in exchange for their attention and participation. Mainstream consumers begin to see the benefits of LBS apps – particularly around making shopping more personal — without compromising their privacy." 

"As old contracts expire, everyday consumers will increasingly replace the old school phones with smartphones," he continues.  "This will be hastened by a Verizon iPhone (finally!) and Google’s top-secret Android device."

"Smartphone adoption will facilitate a mass migration toward app usage, which will create a lot more noise in the app marketplace – especially the un-curated Android Market," he adds.  Trusted app reviews and recommendations will grow in importance."

One of the most interesting things about location-based services is that they bring the online and offline worlds together, and we will likely see many more ways in which this can be accomplished going forward. 

"Brands born in the app stores will create robust multi-level relationships with consumers that extend into the real world – not just through the phone or online," says DiPaoa. "This year, we saw Angry Birds launch a line of stuffed animals, and CheckPoints offers real world rewards for scanning product barcodes with your phone."  

"The combination of mass mobile adoption, popularity of location-based services and improvements in app quality will help to create deep immersive consumer experiences that bridge the online and physical worlds," he concludes. 

We’re already seeing location-based services penetrate TV. MTV was one of the early pioneers in this area. Now Endemol USA is reportedly developing a TV series that uses Foursquare "emulate the competition and travel aspects of reality shows such as The Amazing Race," as Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove describes it

We will also likely see a continued integration among the location-based services themselves. Gowalla, for example, just announced new integration with Facebook Places and Foursquare. Facebook Places launched with integration with other services. With so many location-based services coming out, the most effective ones are likely going to integrate with others and bring something new to the table in order to attract users. 

Studies have shown that location-based services haven’t caught on that much, despite all the hype surrounding them. That will likely change. 

The concept of the location-based service is still relatively new. Watch for them to become more mainstream over the next year or so as more people figure out practical uses for them and the services themselves and businesses taking advantage of them illustrate these uses. Remember when nobody "got"Twitter?