6 Things We Love to Locate – GPS Positioning and Geotagging
In the Information Age, we’ve become accustomed to knowing everything about anything in the click of a button. Search engines harness the immense power of the internet to provide us with up to date information instantly. This expectedness of information has grown to users being able to see the status of things in real-time, and their location through GPS positioning. As you might expect, there are some downsides to this. When looking at security and privacy issues of geo-apps , Geo Awesomeness states, “These services enrich our mobility experiences, but at the same time concern our privacy, when service providers are now capable of continuously tracking the location of a user.”
In my perspective, it is difficult to draw the line regarding what is convenient for us and what is ethical for the server host. When a retail website asks for my location, I provide my zip code in the hopes that it will help me receive accurate and up to date information regarding a product or service I’m interested in. With many technologies, there is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. When using GPS services or geotagging my Instagram photo, I understand that others have access to my location. Sometimes, I may be more than willing to provide that information to others. The services hold a great deal of promise for making your life easier, but they are also a necessity. Without GPS on your phone, emergency services would not be able to pinpoint your location when calling 911 from a cell phone.”
Location Services, Geotagging and other tracking processes provide us with an amazing resource that decades ago may have only been dreamt about. Whether we’re trying to locate something we’ve ordered or someone we’re meeting, these services help us pinpoint where something is so that we can save time, money, or simply be more informed. Here are 6 things we love to locate.
Like many of us, I enjoy ordering products online. And when I do, I’m happy to have access to the tracking information. An item I ordered a couple of weeks ago using UPS was accompanied with detailed, step-by-step information about where my item was and when it arrived or left a location. The UPS website states “Whether you’re receiving one package or shipping hundreds, UPS Tracking provides insight about your shipment’s status all along its journey. You’ll feel confident and have peace of mind knowing that you have the most up-to-date information when you use our enhanced tracking options.” As I impatiently waited for my newly purchased consumable, I could enter the tracking # on the tracking site and see that, yes indeed, my item has departed a local facility and will be delivered to me by the end of the day!
Domino’s prides themselves on being “The World Leader in Pizza Delivery”. In 2008, Domino’s implemented an online tracking tool which lets you know when the pizza is being made, and when it has gone out for delivery. Technologies such as these provide a better, more personalized customer experience, made possible with the right technology. When it comes to information, the more the merrier, right? I think this applies to toppings, too.
Geotagging on Instagram allows others to see the location of our post. When a geotag is used, clicking on it leads us to a map showing us where the image was taken. Additionally, we can see other pictures that were posted using the same geotag, showing us other interesting things there are to see at a vacation spot or what some of the dessert options at a restaurant look like. This is certainly not a service that forces you to give up your privacy. Users willingly share their location to let people know where they are, and it improves the quality and usefulness of the application in the process.
Online marketing managers would agree that knowing where someone is accessing their website from is a great piece of information to have. Using this information, they can make informed decisions regarding the interest and demand of products in a certain region or on certain sites. Amazon is a great example of this. Although a little creepy at first, those pop up banners on the side that let me know what other have bought, or what else I might like actually work. Fortune magazine states that when Amazon recommends a product on its site, it is clearly not a coincidence. Amazon calls this homegrown math “item-to-item collaborative filtering,” and uses this algorithm to heavily customize the browsing experience for returning customers.
As consumers, allowing the website to know our location even by just entering our zip code gives us access to the most accurate information in terms of product availability, pricing, and so forth. They’re just trying to help!
Having visibility into our friend’s locations helps us connect far more efficiently. Locating your friends using popular apps has become common and helps us find each other in crowded areas or just for fun. SocialRadar is a good example of this. SocialRadar works on the premise that the user can walk into a bar and use the app to immediately find out information about who is there. As well as its own data, it uses information that is readily available from other services, such as check-ins and geotagged updates from Facebook and Twitter.
On the flip side, WhereAreYou App claims that it uses simple and harmless technology to locate people via text messages. The App works via SMS and can be very useful for example if you are waiting for somebody and they are late. The receiver retains full control over his/her location by approving every position and every location separately.
If you really want to go for the whole enchilada and get full details including names, locations or other personal identifying data, then you can find the Top 12 Free People Search Apps here.
6. Workforce Management
Fleet tracking has proven to increase the efficiency of a mobile workforce. Internal studies reveal that by simply being able to see the location of a mobile employee, travel times are reduced by 15%. Through location services on workforce management apps, call centers can provide customers with answers to the question “Where’s my technician?” even when the technician is from a third-party provider.
In this video about the customer experience, we use our geocoding technology to improve the customer experience. The customer receives the benefit of being able to actually view where the technician is on a map (2:44), and either call or send him a message.
Much like a dose of antibiotics, we have to look at the good and note that it outweighs the not so good. Location services have numerous uses that consumers and managers alike can benefit from, proving to be advantageous whether your customers have inquiries, or if you need to know where the closest coffee shop is. How do location services create value for you? Let us know in the comments.