This is the first in a series of short (and hopefully insightful) glimpses of what was important in the mobile universe in 2010 and what that means for 2011.
There is nothing that will come to symbolize the year in mobile better than the check-in. 2010 became the year that check-in’s arrived, trended, faded and became dial tone. Foursquare really pioneered this type of service that has seen a myriad of players come and go – GoWalla and BrightKite are the “biggest” names that have moved away from the core of their business being the check-in – and a number of others building innovative approaches in this highly competitive environment – TopGuest and SCVNGR are two examples.
Significant moments in 2010 for this industry are everywhere but none more than the introduction by Facebook of their check-in service, Places, followed by Facebook Deals. These services open up the concept of check-ins known to people who would normally not be exposed to this type of service – Sally Arkansas as Gary Vaynerchuk calls it.
Big moments in 2010: The Check-In is everywhere
What’s in store for 2011
Two things will be front and center in 2011 for the “check-in” economy:
1. Value needs to had when someone checks in – and, no, I don’t mean a coupon or discount. I don’t know about you but I have not spent the past 10 years learning, spending and participating in the mobile industry so I can simply get a coupon for a discount on my latte.
2011 will be the year that merchants, businesses, sports teams, malls, gas stations – everyone – tries to figure out if this type of service fits their business. Lots of experimentation, lots of hits and misses, lots of trial and error. This is the great part of where we are in mobile – we are making the rules up as we go.
By the end of 2011, real value needs to be had from these services or they risk being relegated to the “what were we thinking” pile.
2. Software companies need to start innovating and get beyond the check-in. With the number of services kicking around that allow you to use their data, through open source or API access, the check-in as a business is dead. Now the innovation happens on how to leverage all this location data to make a better experience for the person contemplating a check-in.
The cost of our personal information has now risen, what are you the software developer going to do to make me give some up again.