The 5 Ws of Location-Based Services

At Internet Marketing Conference’s mobile event last week, TAT’s Johan Montan started discussing how with location-based services (LBS) for mobile, his company’s starting to answer a few of the 5 W questions. Building from there, it’s not hard to imagine the 5 Ws of how LBS will work to combine social, local, and mobile media (and we’ll throw in the H – "how" – for good measure).

I’ll illustrate it with a realistic example. Greg arrives in New York on business and finds himself in Times Square with a bit of free time for dinner. He wants to figure out what to do so he turns to his mobile phone.

WHAT: Greg’s hungry, so he looks up restaurants. But the "what" could just as easily be tourist attractions, movie theaters, or strip clubs.

WHERE: Greg finds dozens of restaurants within walking distance. His hotel’s a bit east of Times Square and he hasn’t been west much, so he focuses on listings between 7th and 10th Avenues, between 45th and 50th Streets.

WHO: The service taps into a number of Greg’s networks, spanning LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Dozens of his friends have eaten at restaurants in the defined area and rated their experience; some also wrote reviews.

WHEN: He narrows the focus to friends who ate at these restaurants within the past six months so he knows their reviews are current. He’s down to 25 reviews of 8 restaurants.

WHY: Most of his friends’ reviews are tagged with why they ate there. Some friends were there with kids, and they ate at what looked to be pretty safe Italian and Chinese restaurants. Another friend was there for a bachelor party so Greg expected that restaurant would be too much of a scene. Some reviews weren’t tagged, while some others mentioned they were there with their spouses or for business dinners, and those sounded like good choices. He decided on Bann, a Korean barbecue restaurant on 50th Street and 9th Avenue rated 4.5 out of 5 stars for for food by his friends and 4 stars by all reviewers. The reviews in aggregate rated the grilled ostrich as the best dish.

HOW: Greg’s GPS told him to walk the few blocks over, but he could have easily pulled up driving or subway directions, or he could have found out the cost of the cab while seeing which route to take – taking live traffic updates into consideration – so he wouldn’t get ripped off.

That’s the promise. It’s coming, gradually, though many of the pieces are here, and the opportunity’s tremendous.

Note: thanks to the update from the comments, I updated the speaker from TAT.

3 thoughts on “The 5 Ws of Location-Based Services

  1. All the W’s were simply great and keep up this good work.It is a real pleasure to be a part of this community.

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