Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Meet me by the Nike poster...idea #48/100...

It seems a sensible idea to have a shared meeting service on mobiles so that any group, no matter how small or large, can arrange meetings. I don't mean office meetings, as that probably takes place via Exchange/Notes. It would be possible for an individual user to belong to as many meetings as they like, as inviter or invitee.

In my book, I mentioned such an idea in the opening chapter (viewable in edited form here). I thought to include the idea of time arbitration, so that invitees can "vote" for their preferred time (and place), which doesn't necessarily mean everyone has to pick the exact same time. Arbitration rules could pick the "mean" time (or allow the inviter to overrule/dictate), but also allow for variance, thus accommodating late-comers etc.

The service would include the selection of the meeting place, which is important. These should be selectable from preset options, recent meeting places, popular meeting places, favourite meeting places (individual and group favourites), personal meeting places (e.g. "my house") etc.

I would hope that popular meeting places would prove useful. I have often tried to set up meetings in towns not too familiar to me and struggled to find the ideal meeting point. It would be great to select from a list, like "coffee shops" and pick one.

The popular meeting places would be ranked in order of popularity, but not just from the presets. Users could specify their own meeting places and these could be made public, so that others can benefit from local knowledge, like the existence of well-known features, such as a water fountain or monument etc.

Connecting this to a previous meme on "air-tagging" (street logos), it would be interesting to include the possibility to meet at certain logo points, real or virtual. These could potentially be marked in the application with geographical annotation (e.g. GPS co-ordinates or street name) or left un-marked, so that only those "in the know" would know where to meet.

There is also a likely connection with the emerging theme of active posters, such as being delivered by the likes of Hypertag to promote new kinds of advertising engagements. It would be interesting to see advertisers exploit this possibility. Putting it crudely, one could imagine "meeting at the Nike poster", where the incentives might be to download the latest Nike-sponsored media from the poster.

A while ago, I researched the concept of active walls, where users swap virtual notes. This too might arise around the active poster concept. The connection with meeting places is obvious.

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