Shopkick shows innovation in location-based services is not over

I love seeing innovations. Especially ones that are so easy to understand you slap your head and say “why didn’t I think of that?”

Shopkick showed me one of those. What does it do?

It is a mobile app that can tell when you’ve actually walked in a store. How did it do that?

Use Wifi? Nope.
Use near-field communications? Nope.
Use GPS? Nope.
Use RFID? Nope.

All of those had some significant disadvantages, co-founder Cyriac Roeding told me. So, what did his team come up with?

Audio.

Huh?

Every cell phone has a microphone, and they found a way to put an audio signal into the air that humans can’t hear, but the microphone in your cell phone can.

So, at the front of a store there’ll be a little speaker that Shopkick designed. When you walk into the store (you must have the Shopkick app running for this to work) it’ll know you are there and can reward you for doing that.

There’s a lot more on the video and article over on Building43, but it’s great meeting innovative companies like Shopkick.

It also shows that innovation in the location-based space is not over. In the video I wonder why Shopkick only focused on shopping. Imagine they put this system into Disneyland. Now a customized Disneyland app could do a LOT of things when it senses you are in a new area or waiting in line for a ride.

Do you have an innovative solution to a problem like this? Would love to hear about it: scobleizer@gmail.com