Geo Socialization: The Next Trend in Social Networking


By Archana Amarnath
Team Leader
Frost & Sullivan

Year: 2020. Location: The busiest street in town.

Imagine yourself walking down the street one afternoon and your mobile phone gives you the following alerts:

  • Your buddy is at a bar nearby
  • Your favorite restaurant down the street is offering a special on your favorite food
  • A shop around the corner is offering a discount sale on your preferred clothing line

Welcome to the future of social networking: Geo Socialization. While you might be conflicted in choosing the best option from these different alerts, this next generation of socialization will work on geographic services and capabilities, such as geocoding and geotagging, to enable additional social dynamics. In simple terms, your profile and interests and other user-submitted data will be matched with location-based services to connect and coordinate with surrounding people or events (such as meet-ups, concerts, or nightclub and restaurant reviews).

The possibilities and opportunities of geo socialization are endless; we are talking about a world where markets, businesses and individuals are driven by the need to interact, advertise and promote in real time. This will result in new trends of digital marketing, socializing and networking, furthering the evolution of interaction between individuals and organizations. Business will now thrive on new digital marketing tools, promotions and offers. For example, real estate agents will advertise properties on sale and provide specs on value/price and address. An information bar with contact numbers will enable such businesses to capitalize on opportunities and potential contacts on a real-time basis. This would imply that businesses will soon need to be equipped with the infrastructure and resources to respond to real-time demand to cater to a whole new spectrum of customers who react to geographically tagged services. Additionally, this trend will also force investments from the retail, entertainment and hospitality industries to upgrade their systems with new IT software to enable these services, thereby bringing a new source of revenue to mobile operators and IT software and system houses. It will allow these industries to manage their inventory in real time and push promotions when inventory piles up or to fill capacity, as in empty restaurants.

Meeting potential customers can be extended to various scenarios. A series of alerts about different users in a business conference would help a user network with potential clients and probably on a job prospect as well! Background information on different users about their interests or business domain will enhance networking skills and broaden the list of contacts.

Layar, the world’s first mobile augmented reality browser now available in the market, is a step toward this vision. Layar operates using a combination of GPS, mobile phone camera and compass to identify a user’s location and retrieve information on geographical coordinates that can be seen through the camera view. By simply pointing the visual search engine in any direction, Layar gives information on exciting places, clubs, bars, cash machines, restaurants, shops and theaters. However, Frost & Sullivan envisions a more sophisticated and real-time location mapping system to develop and evolve, furthering the dimensions of social networking and collaboration from that which Layar currently offers. Geo socialization will not only point out exciting places but will match interests with services, location and people around the user, resulting in a more customized way of networking.

Technologies and software are currently being developed toward this MegaTrend. Geo socialization will change the way we think, move, interact, communicate, do business and capitalize on opportunities in the future. So while we are busy Twittering and using Facebook in 2010, let us welcome this new technology and geographical-based type of socialization that will influence our social lives for years to come.

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For more information regarding MegaTrends and Geo Socialization, please contact Archana Amarnath at aamarnath@frost.com with the subject line: GIL MegaTrend.

 

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