I'm obsessed by mobile applications that combine valuable information with real-time GPS capability. Geo-location applications will see explosive growth in coming years and therefore are important for marketers to understand.
You can engage some of the people in real time some of the time. You can engage desktop-computer users when they’re at their desks. Sometimes you can engage notebook users at Starbucks.
But only when users go mobile can you engage all of the people in real time all of the time. That's why mobile devices are the fastest-growing and most fascinating field in the Real-Time Marketing & PR world.
For example, consider the SitOrSquat bathroom finder application for iPhone and other devices. It contains (as of this writing) nearly 100,000 public restrooms, all geo-located.
While the application is global, at this point most potties are located in the US.
If you've got to pee and you are in New York City, you're in luck! However, if you're feeling the urge to tinkle in Helsinki, well, you've got to hold it a bit longer as there are only four loos listed in that city.
Find a place to go when you are on the go.
The SitOrSquat bathroom finder is sponsored by Charmin, from P&G, America's most popular toilet paper for more than 25 years. Gotta love that sponsorship!
The press release sent in March 2009 announcing the sponsorship must have been fun to write.
"For nearly a decade, Charmin has been dedicated to giving consumers a great public bathroom experience. This commitment started in 2000 with 'Charminizing' public restrooms at State Fairs, then the mobile unit 'Potty Palooza' from 2003-2005 and finally, with the next evolution, The Charmin Restrooms in Times Square."
GPS-enabled mobile apps
Adding GPS capability to a mobile transforms a general window on the online world into a lens focused on its proximate surroundings.
With GPS, a mobile gains awareness of nearby people, objects, and offerings that trumpet their location online. So even in unfamiliar territory, the user is richly informed: "Oh, I see, that’s the subway entrance over there, and the post office is next door. I can grab a burger on the corner or a coffee across the street. And when I need to poo, I've got that covered too."