iPointer Mobile ‘Point and Search’ Technology
Shortly after I started writing about “point and search” technology from GeoVector, I was contacted by Jerry King the COO of Intelligent Spatial Technologies. His company has similar visual point and search product for mobile devices called iPointer.
After about three weeks, I’m finally getting around to writing about it. (I did a shorter post here.) According to King, this is how it works:
In order to receive information about a point of interest, users simply point their cellphone or PDA at a building, landmark, or other identifiable location and click. On-demand location-specific information is then sent to the user’s handset over the wireless network. Initial target applications include self-guided tours, mobile real estate search, pedestrian navigation, and city guides. Intrinsic in all of these iPointer powered applications is the opportunity to also include highly targeted location-sensitive advertising.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, King’s company is initially establishing a foothold in the travel and tourism industry. On the phone, he likened iPointer to a next-generation museum tour (devices will be rented at points of interest). But as the remarks immediately above also suggest, the potential applications are much broader and the plans are much bigger.
Point and search or visual mobile local search is something most people aren’t thinking that much about as a mobile use case. They’re focused instead on SMS, wireless web or some version of enhanced DA. But I think people would be wise to consider the potential impact of point and search.
As one barrier to adoption it relies on a PDA or smartphone. But the user experience is richer and more intuitive than what’s currently available on most mobile devices. And, like other mobile-local search, the user behavior is “directional” and will thus offer marketers “opt-in” intentionality with the immediacy of mobile’s “need it now” use case.
My feeling is that these kinds of point and search apps are going to be extremely popular for certain types of mobile lookups, provided they become widely available in US markets.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.