Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

iOS Passbook App and Location Awareness

With the new Apple Passbook app I’ve noticed that it is aware when I’m near my local Starbucks. As I’m nearby the Passbook app puts up a notification listing the Starbucks and if I start the Passbook app it already has my Starbucks card displayed. This is an example of utilizing the location awareness aspect of mobile technology to determine what I might be doing or am interested in and taking an action based on that (rather than my having to find and start the app). Other examples of this sort of automation include shopping lists that remind you of items in a particular store when you are in or near that store. This list might even be even more automated by comparing prices and only listing the items that are the most competitively priced where you are. This is just the beginning of your phone or tablet becoming your assistant (or efficiency consultant) and letting you squeeze more into where and what you are doing without you having to think about it. When you combine the mobile tech having access to cloud resources (vast storage and compute) you get a geometric increase in decision assistance and it becomes difficult to even imagine what is possible. I can imagine that your phone/tablet (or augmented reality glasses) would display or announce a reminder of something you want to get, an upcoming birthday of a contact and their gift preference, a friend with a current social media post that is nearby or a news event happening at that time. With connectivity to other devices like your car it might note that you are due for an inspection and the line at the local station is short. It is even interesting to think that your phone might start up an image processing application in the cloud to check all of the traffic cameras in your area or on your route and advise you (or your autonomous car) which is best. All this is possible right now. It only requires that your imagination and innovation put it into place.