Forget Manual Check-Ins, Automatic Is The Way Of The Future For LBS Apps

At VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference yesterday, CEO of location-based game Booyah, Keith Lee, said that manual check-ins to location-based services could be on their way out, to be replaced by automated check-ins. While check-ins have become the defacto method for notifying a venue and friends that you’ve arrived, there’s been a lot of talk about so-called …   Read More

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At VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference yesterday, CEO of location-based game Booyah, Keith Lee, said that manual check-ins to location-based services could be on their way out, to be replaced by automated check-ins.

While check-ins have become the defacto method for notifying a venue and friends that you’ve arrived, there’s been a lot of talk about so-called “check-in fatigue” caused by users having to manually check-in to numerous LBS services every time they arrive at certain locations.  Automatic check-ins could begin to solve that problem, and make for much more effective use of a combination of LBS services.

Lee suggests that location-based applications and services could be more useful if checkins are performed automatically and users are offered interesting services such as discount coupons based on their vicinity and interest- a concept called geo fencing.  “Auto checkins can also become useful if, for example, I specify Starbucks as one of my favorite spots and am automatically checked in whenever I am there — thus making it easier for the company to offer discounts based on number of checkins,” explained Saad Fazil of VenturBeat.

What should be interesting is when other devices enable third-party apps to collect information in the background, like the iPhone 4, combined with other things like Facebook’s upcoming entry into the LBS space and the continued domination of LBS providers like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and Booyah.  The latter obviously already has something up its sleeve, and the other will likely follow.  Automatic check-ins are the way of the future, though it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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2 comments

  1. @snroadmap

    Automated checkins will only be useful if the granularity of controls is robust, and this can be iterated; geosocial users represent a drop in the ocean and the mass market will not adopt anytime soon, and they'll be even less likely to go for automated anything: "jettison your privacy for an icon" will be the response. That said, initiatives that play the niche can get good engagement with current adopters. Like Twitter, most of any geosocial apps' users have accounts but don't do anything; I'd wager that Twitter portions will hold for geosocial.. i.e. 5-10% of users responsible for 90% of tweets. It'll be interesting to see what portion of these peeps will go for automated. I bet it's half at best, and the quality of controls will determine adoption. A good way to get at this answer: survey tweeps and measure how many of them understand Facebook privacy controls; might be a good indicator of their willingness to adopt automated. BTW, explored geosocial adoption by the enterprise here: http://bit.ly/geosocial1

  2. Eydie

    Ah, we all love that Starbucks coffee discount example–even me, back when LBS was still an ideal based on tower triangulation rather than apps…

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