6 Promising LBS (Location Based Service) Apps and Challenges in the Space
Location is a very important parameter in this age of mobility and the current state of technology has evolved from research that began in the early and mid nineties. These technologies were developed quickly and have reached a high sate of sophistication with capability of tracking people every minute of their lives. Sometimes intrusive, the technologies have also been useful and riding the wave many, many developers in the app space have come up with great ideas. FourSquare undoubtedly has played the game best and with more than 20 million registered users, is the most popular app in the space. Here, we look at some of the promising apps coming from India followed by the challenges that these apps might face. (in no particular order)
Hoppr is a mobile device-agnostic location based service that allows users to avail of deals and offers from merchants where they check into. Trying to be the useful for both merchants and users, Hoppr banks heavily on it's sleek design and the device agnostic property to gain both volumes and penetration.
Founded by Md. Imthiaz and backed by Bharti Soft Bank, Hoppr is certainly one you'd want to keep your eyes on.
Definitely one of the more popular startups, especially being in the space it is, Zomato has also gone international and is a tough competition for Yelp which has recently entered India. Zomato has apps for every platform (latest release being on Windows) and allows the user to check out restaurant recommendations according to his location.
Led by a great team and backed by InfoEdge, Zomato is a must have for all the foodies.
NowFloats attempts to give the user the best information depending on his or her location and the time they're are there. It also keeps the content fresh by auto-expiring content past its prime or popularity.
LocalEver provides 'Radius Search' to search items within particular radius from particular location. Users can search items Street and Area wise via Google Maps. Connects buyers and sellers in real time and also has an expansive B2B offering for corporates.
A talented techie team behind the app, LocalEver is currently available in Chennai only.
A location based shopping app, DelightCircle has offers and new arrivals across 200+ brands and retailers. With incentives like earning free mobile recharge, movie tickets and gift cards for simply visiting the stores, DelightCircle is trying to play on with the human weaknesses.
Currently in 8 cities in India, DelightCircle is a must have if you're a shopaholic.
This GPS enabled app allows users to know what’s going on around them in terms of news, deals and discounts, events and yellow pages. Founded in 2009, LocalBeat was initially known as TaazzaGO but rebranded recently.
The intelligent Kaapi crawler (their algorithm), LocalBeat is a powerful app and a strong contender in the space.
So, this was the bright side. Coming to the traction and challenges, are Indian consumers ready for these services? We earlier wrote about how location based services are a game of intent v/s impulse and it is very difficult to push these offers onto the user when they're offline and in the real world. So, are the users in India really that savvy? Here is a snap from Foursquare where pink is the OpenStreetMap Data and the green are the checkins in the Indian subcontinent- tells quite a lot (more on their blog)
The key challenges as of now would be:
1) Privacy Issues: People are still not comfortable with the idea that people know where they are and what they're doing and can judge their next move. This is more likely to be a perpetual challenge.
2) Users Aren't That Savvy: Users, especially in India aren't that savvy that they'd swing open their phones while shopping or looking for something. There has to be a reinforcement or something that pushes them unobtrusively.
3) Maintaining Incentives: Badges and discounts and the likes are good to catch the attention early on but in the long run, this model also needs to change. There has to be a more compelling reason.
These are some of the glaring problems within the space but with time, everyone is hoping they wouldn't be as relevant. Definitely a hot area, expect a consistent buzz in this space. LBS is here to stay.
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