As location aware apps become more common, businesses of all stripes are beginning to identify the benefits of pinpointing an app user’s location. Through the use of GPS, WiFi positioning and Bluetooth beacons, a broad range of industries are beginning to jump on the location tracking bandwagon, offering app users relevant features dependant on their location.
In this feature, we take a quick look at how businesses are using location tracking technology in imaginative ways. This list offers an insight into the use cases of location tracking and how location aware apps can be used in any industry.
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a ‘sorry we missed you’ note when you’re expecting an important delivery. DPD’s app, ‘Your DPD’, aims to do away with this by alerting the DPD driver when an app user returns home. This means that if a package couldn’t successfully be delivered earlier in the day then the driver has the opportunity to deliver it again before the end of their shift and the app user will be sent a notification informing them that the driver is returning. The app pinpoints the user’s location using GPS technology, which also allows the user to track the progress of their delivery. ‘Your DPD’ also gives users more control over their DPD delivery, with features that allows the user to specify where a package should be left if they aren’t in (whether to leave the package with a particular neighbour or in a safe place on the premises).
In 2016 Pokemon Go showed the potential of location based technology in the context of a game. Cashing in on nostalgia for the iconic ‘90s video game and tv series, Pokemon Go sent players of all ages out into the world in search of Pokemon to catch. The game relies on location based technology as players need to travel to different physical locations to find different Pokemon. Pokemon Go uses GPS location tracking to show a player’s location on a map of their local area, alongside important in-game locations, such as gyms for battling other players.
If you’ve ever visited a Tate gallery then you’ll know that there’s an almost overwhelming amount to see and it can be difficult to even know where to start. Tate have built a location aware app geared towards improving the experience for visitors to Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool by making it easy to navigate around the galleries. The app itself is split into three different sections: Art, Activity, and Eat and Shop, and uses both WiFi and BLE beacon technology to pinpoint the visitor’s position within the gallery. The app is able to offer users specific content based on where they are located in the gallery. For example, each room triggers the ability for visitors to listen to exclusive interviews with artists and curators relevant to their current location. Visitors can also use the app to navigate around the gallery, for example, the app user can search for their favourite artists and find directions to any works currently being displayed.
Although it has often found itself at the center of controversy, Uber is still one of the world’s most popular mobile apps, making it easy for users to get from A to B in (almost) any major city. If you don’t know how Uber works, customers simply request a ride using the app which is sent to Uber drivers nearby. The drivers are then able to accept the request and they then pick up the customer with payment being dealt with through the app before the ride begins.
Uber exists in two forms: an app for the customer and an app for the driver. Both of these have location based technology at their core. The driver app contains inbuilt navigation meaning that the driver has everything they need in one place and they have no need to exit the app. The customer app uses location based technology to pinpoint their location and allows the driver to find them. The app asks to track the user’s location when they aren’t using the app which, although it may seem like an unsettling request, ensures that even if the customer closes the app and wanders off to a different location the driver is still able to find them.
BMDI has experience of working on location based app projects across several different industries. Here’s a quick look at apps we’ve worked on in the past that use this technology.
In an age where it’s easy to do all of your shopping online, shopping centres and malls need to offer shoppers an enjoyable and stress free experience they aren’t able to get sat in front of their computer. As Mall of America is the second largest mall in the US and home to over 500 stores (plus an indoor theme park complete with a roller coaster), it’s all too easy for shoppers to find themselves zigzagging across the mall in search of specific shops. To solve this, Mall of America built an app which gives users information about each of the mall’s stores and allows them to get directions from their current location displayed on a map of the mall. The app pinpoints shoppers’ positions by way of Bluetooth Low Energy beacons that are dotted around thebuilding.
For London’s Air Ambulance, the inclusion of location based technology in their app has potentially live saving implications. The app is used by London’s Air Ambulance staff to improve response times to incidents by giving directions, both for helicopters and ground vehicles, and allowing important data to be recorded in one place. BMDI created a highly customised map for London’s Air Ambulance, using London A-Z tiles in place of Google Maps’ standard tiles due to their higher level of detail. This also allows London’s Air Ambulance to cross reference locations on the app with a hard copy of London A-Z.
Points of interest were also added to the map to show where different hospitals are located and provide relevant information about each one, for example letting London’s Air Ambulance know if a particular hospital has a burns unit, making potentially vital information quick to access. This resulted in a unique map that was highly customised for the requirements of London’s Air Ambulance and has made it easier for them to do their job more effectively.
Brapp uses location based services to make it easier than ever for musicians from all corners of the globe to connect and collaborate. Producers are able to upload instrumentals and beats and then vocalists can then select a track that interests them and record a video over the top (complete with video filters and audio effects). The app makes use of GPS to allow users see where in the world content has been uploaded from. For example, if you select any producer’s profile you’re able to view the locations where they’ve uploaded their instrumentals along with the location of other users who have recorded and uploaded vocals over the top. This makes it easy for users to find musicians and collaboration opportunities local to them.
Of course, this is in no way an exhaustive list of uses for location tracking technology – features such as location dependent push notifications or ‘find your nearest branch’ have found uses in a whole host of apps. But it’s clear that whatever industry you’re in, location tracking technology likely has a relevant use, even if it’s not obvious at first. So if you haven’t considered it before, it’s worth exploring whether location based services can do anything for your business. Get in touch and we’ll work with you to identify the critical use-cases for location tracking technology that will help your business to work smarter and establish a competitive edge in your industry.