Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Dodgeball, BrightKite, Google Latitude… Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve heard of at least one of these. And with South by Southwest (interactive) 2010 just about winding down, you’ve heard or read that location-based services (LBS) are all the rage at the moment. That’s because companies and marketers are one huge step closer to location-based and location-specific advertising.
Almost a year ago, three business school colleagues and I wrote a paper regarding location-based services (geo-social networking was the broader term we used). One key tenet of our final project was to look at a technology-intensive enterprise or situation, and comment on it from the perspective of managing it, either from the business level or from the actual manager level. Four key companies in the (then-current) geosocial network arena were profiled, and their business decisions and trajectories are examined on a granular level. From there, the key choices made by managers of technology‐intensive enterprises were identified at moments of technological convergence on a more macro level. That is to say, the geosocial arena in specific is used to evaluate and discuss the management choices for technology‐intensive enterprises in general. By taking actual companies and examining them, we were able to create a framework for analyzing on a greater level.
The paper is not short; it’s 16.5 pages of text, excluding the endnotes, title page and that kind of stuff. But if you’re into the whole LBS thing, and want to look at an interesting dissection of it (from a ‘what should the company do’ perspective), it’s worth a read. Perhaps after doing so, it will shed more light onto the current market of players, and you’ll have a better sense of the challenges they face. I loaded the paper up to Scribd, and embedded it below. I’m interested in any comments you might have; please drop them below.
image source: screen capture of http://austin.vicarious.ly