Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Point to Discover (P2D)-the LBS of the future?

Location-based services (LBS) are receiving plenty of buzz these days. However, what I consider to be exciting is to look at the future possibilities for these services that lie beyond our current reckoning.

The idea of the mobile device as a pointer came up recently at the CES in Las Vegas -where we saw some prototypes of handsets capable of projecting their screen's image when pointed at a blank wall.

Rainer Simon of the Telecommunications Research Centre in Vienna published a paper last year where he gives us an insight into the possibilities of P2D (Point to Discover) technology.

In his paper he asks us to: "Imagine you could point your mobile phone at a bus stop to find out when the next bus is leaving; or point at a tourist landmark to get travel guide information; at an advertisement billboard to take part in a prize draw; or at a mountain top to find out the name of the mountain while you are hiking or skiing". Sounds pretty neat, doesn't it?

Rainer also goes on to postulate that the handset of the future may well come equipped with tilt sensors and digital compasses that would turn them into true interactive, navigational devices. Eventually, handsets could be able to recognise the 3D landscape around them and compute schematized 360-degrees panoramas , presenting nearby buildings and points of interest in a simple skyline-view that scrolls horizontally as the user turns.

Some food for thought for the good folks over at Google Mobile Maps, who may well be testing how to build this future functionality into their current application as we speak...

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