Location Based Social Networking at School and University

, posted: 29-Jan-2009 14:30

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who has just started 6th Form at her college and asking her about her new form room and whether she had friends from previous years with her. She said they were all strangers and that she was expecting to find it more difficult to catch up with her group of mates, because they would have breaks at different times and wouldn't know who was where and when.

I told her about the Location Innovation Awards and asked her what she would think of an application that would allow her and her friends to use SMS or a Java application that they could download into their mobiles and let each other know where they are, what their ststus is (e.g. lunch or study period) and be able to catch up in real time or schedule a meetup.

I think a lot of application companies forget about the 14-18 age group when they develop mobile based applications, even though telcos know that more than 50% of mobile phone data traffic comes from social networking applications (is that an example of disruptive technology?) such as Bebo and Facebook or in countries like The Netherlands, Hyves all of which already have networks for specific schools and colleges. These young people are almost physically attached to their mobiles and are all but neurally connected and would adopt an application like this without a momemnt's hesitation.

So her response? "That would be awesome!"

So if you are thinking about still entering the Location Innovation Awards, get your thinking cap on and invent a new future for yourself, entries are free but you have to have your entry in by 16 February if you want to win one of the great prizes. Don't forget, you don't have to be capable of creating the application, but you do have to be capable of documenting the concept and understanding at least the principle of how it would work.

How would an application like this generate revenue? Sponsorship or branding would make a lot of sense. It could be sponsored by a brand such as Subway (just an example), who are already running SMS applications such as ordering your sub (Just a comment, I think it's a little short sighted to only let people learn about the application by downloading a PDF) before you get to the store so you don't have to stand in line. An application like this could be combined with the Customer Loyalty card, i.e. you have to register online with Subway to download the free application and you will also from time to time receive promotions such as electronic coupons that you can redeem instore either as an image of a bar code that the scanner can read or simply by showing it to the cashier.

Of course it doesn't just have to be for high schools, but would also be just as popular with universities, where the institution can also participate by assigning short codes to identify different parts of the campus. This would be a great solution to launch on Orientation Week when all the first year students struggle to find teir way around campus.

The application could then also be used within the institution for games such as treasure hunts, or to advise students of events such as concerts, assemblies, sports events and other activities either en masse or by subscription to interest groups, mirroring application concepts as found on the social networking sites, using a location based concept which, with the shortcodes where the devices don't even need GPS or triangulations to understand the location details.

I could go on with concepts such as short code translation into full location names, campus maps, opt-in and networking rules, other things the schools or universities could use this technology for, but then I would be completing the entire competition concept entry and you would have nothing left to do.

So, have these ideas got your thinking juices flowing? Do you have some great ideas? Well you only have 2 weeks to go before your entry has to be in. Sign up today at www.locationinnovation.co.nz and get your entry kit. You could be flying to the Where 2.0 Conference in San Jose, fully paid for by GeoSmart Maps Ltd, in May this year or winning one of the other great prizes.

More information

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Comment by photogrammetry services, on 7-May-2009 18:25

nice pics. thanks for sharing..




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Luigi Cappel
New Zealand

Helping people getting their message to potential customers with blogs and social media.
Futurist and start up founder.
Passionate consultant about all things to do with Social, Location, Augmented Reality and Mobile.
Member of Auckland ICT Cluster
Chair of Computing and IT Industry Advisory Committee at National Technology Institute
Founding member and past president of the New Zealand Wireless Forum.
Past Vice President NZ Sales & Marketing Institute.