04
Jun
09

MobiQpons – the future of location based mobile computing (and a darn good idea)

1 in 3 smartphone owners currently use a Location Based Service at least once a month. An additional 20% of smartphone users said that they would be interested in using LBS if they knew more

… that came from a recent post on the compete blog about location-based services on mobile phones. LBS’s are big, and will only become bigger as an ever increasing proportion of the population use smart phones. What the heck is a location based service, you might ask? Despite it’s cumbersome name, an ‘LBS’ is a service that uses information about your current location to deliver highly customised, highly relevant services to your smart phone / mobile PC, and is distinctly where the mobile web seems to be heading.

For example, you might be interested hanging out in an area for dinner, and decide to go and see a movie – if, say, Hoyts Cinemas were to do a LBS, it would likely point you to the Hoyts cinema nearest to you, and tell you what movies are playing, how long the movie goes for and how much tickets are. LBS is a big part of the future of mobile computing. As you can see from the graph below, there are core areas of LBS that remain untapped – in particularly high demand but low supply are LBS’s that deliver coupons / specials / giveaways.

From the above research, we see that people want ‘Special Offers’ out of an LBS, yet very few are currently using such a service. This gives us all the ingredients of an untapped market, wouldn’t you say (high demand coupled with low supply)? Well, enter MobiQpons,  who have recognised this opportunity. They are a location-based service that will give consumers exactly what they’ve been waiting for… using your phone’s GPS, MobiQpons will work out where you are, and send you vouchers for businesses within a 10km radius of your location. That’s fantastic news for marketers, but I see the real advantage being for local businesses / retail business. Think about it this way – how does a cafe stand out amongst all the other cafes on Chapel Street? Why not get coupons delivered to people’s mobile phones for a free upsize of your coffee… I know that’d get me coming to you rather than someone else. Then train your staff on upselling chocolate caramel slice, and you’re on your way to making some serious cheddar 🙂 Or you might be, say, BigW. During Xmas shopping, you send coupons for $25 off Xbox 360’s – what better way to get people spending money with you rather than at KMart or one of your competitors’ stores.

Being a new service, of course, MobiQpons is facing a significant challenge before it can become a killer app – the test of it’s success will lie in it’s ability to get advertisers to provide coupons in the first place… no consumer wants to install an app that is designed to give them coupons if there’s no coupons to be had. The inherent difficulty of achieving that advertiser buy-in, of course, is that advertisers will want to use platforms that have high user numbers. Yet you cannot get users without the coupons, and you won’t get the coupons without users, and so on and so on. It’ll be interesting to see how mobiQpons go about addressing this. I’m guessing we’ll see businesses getting to use it as a free / cut price service for a limited time to build an advertiser base.

MobiQpons is so far only available on the iPhone. Blackberry and Android versions are coming soon, and hopefully they’ll see the light and develop a version for Windows Mobile too. If you have an iPhone, you can download mobiQpons via https://www.mobiqpons.com/ … it’ll be a handy little service if / when it gets up and running, so check it out so you can have the early adopter bragging rights 🙂

EDIT: 4/6/09 – I see from mobiqpons’ twitter feed that they have 1500 users so far, and are serving 20% off vouchers for Borders. Looks like a solid start.

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