Low-Tech Location-Sensitivity

When the idea of location-specificity first came up, a few years ago, I came up with a simple way to location-enable venues. The particular implementation we had in mind facilitated chance meetings of like-minded people, location-based marketing and offers flirting in social spaces. We never used it, so here it is.

  • First, set up a website, where users of the system can register their contact details, mobile phone number and data about their characteristics and interests — obviously this can also be used for demographic mapping and direct marketing.
  • Then, for every venue which wishes to participate, assign a unique (short) ID number. Venues can use this number in their own marketing, and more importantly, make it clearly visible at their entrances, or places within the venue where people spend some dead time — queuing at the bar, in the bacthrooms, for example.
  • When people enter the venue, they see the ID for that space, and text it to a freephone number (or not free, if you want that as a revenue stream).
  • From some basic characteristics of the venue, assume that once this happens, that person is likely to be there for some set period of time — maybe an hour for a bar, for example, on until that user keys in a new ID for another location. When that period elapses, their location is flagged as ‘unknown’.
  • During the period that a given user is assumed to be in a given location, depending what location-specific services they’ve signed up for, they can be texted with details of the other people, offers and services available there — these could for example include ‘buy one get one free’ offers, or even the news that a single 30-something person with similar tastes just entered wearing (whatever they keyed in before leaving home).

It’s a very simple scheme, which could work well for a variety of marketing/sales purposes. I’m surprised no-one has developed this independently and tried it out.