Geotagged at Yahoo! London office (51.5141985,-0.1292006)

Mashup, Location and London

Last night I was at LBi in the old Truman Brewery on London's Brick Lane for Mashup's Location ... It's Moving On. I've spoken at a Mashup event once or twice before but this time the organising team threw caution to the wind and asked me to chair the panel discussion.

Prior to kicking the panel discussion off, I attempted to gently suggest some topics to my fellow panelists that we might want to discuss.

We started off with a quick review of my Theory of Stuff and how it applies to deriving value from location and location data and briefly visited Gartner's hype curve which puts location based services on the so called Plateau of Productivity. This is a good thing apparently. I then presented the panel with a series of  "yes, but" style trade offs to mull over.

  • Smartphones vs. other phones; 21% of phones expected to have GPS by EOY 2009, but what about the other 79% without?
  • LBS and LBMS vs. other (older) location systems (APIs and so on); LBS and LBS apps get all the publicity but what about key location APIs, platforms and services?
  • "where's my friends" vs. creating value and creating data; "where's my friends" doesn't work as a (sole) business proposition but creating value added data does -- FourSquare and Gowalla are creating geotagged local business listings from check ins.
  • "where's my business" vs. location based advertising; Tesco and Starbucks are the latest companies to launch apps to drive customers to their premises, but what's needed to drive location based ads?
  • "where I think you are" vs. "where I say I am"; For a user, being able to be their own source of truth is imperative, but how can you reconcile this with your business needs?
  • "where you are" vs. "where you've been"; (AKA tracking vs. privacy) How to walk the fine line between providing enhanced relevance via a user's location and being accused of tracking them.

I was then joined by Chris Osborne (#geomob and Ito World), Alex Housely (Rummble), Jon Fisher (Vodafone), David Glennie (MIG) and Alan Patrick (Broadsight) for an hour's worth of lively, animated, opinionated and occasionally profane panel discussion, making the job of ring-mastering all the more challenging and a whole lot of fun at the same time.

The #mashupevent audience look on from the bowels of Brick Lane

The audience chimed in with a variety of questions, some pointed, some speculative and some downright rambling before we retired to the bar and then out to sample one of Brick Lane's finest curry houses; it's a shame we didn't find one of the finest but a decent post event wind down took place anyway in the basement of an establishment which had "Spice" in the name. I think.

All in all, a geotastic evening all round.

Update: 1 March 2010

It seems that the topic of the Mashup* event and the buzz of publicity that the team created on social media streams, including Twitter, were sufficient to get my introductory deck onto the Featured Presentations & Documents section of the SlideShare home page.

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Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user