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HCK2 INTERNally: Directionally Challenged from SXSW

by HCK2 Interns
Mar
19
2012

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 52 seconds

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Our Morgan Gonzales had a little fun in Austin this past weekend. SXSW gave her some good times. And, well, I don't want her to get in trouble, so I'll just say I have been asked not to talk so loud today. Apparently, she came back with something else.]

March 9 marked the beginning of SXSW (or “South by” for you hipsters out there). And while I was most excited about the barbecue and music portion of the conference, the interactive leg has left us all anticipating what will be the next big thing in the world of apps.

And this year was the year of location.

You might remember that SXSW debuted the launch of mobile apps, Twitter in 2007 and Foursquare in 2009. The idea of location-based apps isn’t anything new. How else can our location and information continue to evolve?

More popular location-based apps, such as Foursquare, require users to actively “check-in” to their location. However, one keynote speaker from the conference, Amber Case, spoke about using location rather as a “calm technology” or technology that benefits your life by living calmly in the background.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Let's see, "calm" and "technology". Oxymoron, perhaps?]

To understand this concept, she provided the following illustration:

Imagine, for example, setting a geo-fence around your house that can tell when you arrive home because it senses your smartphone has crossed the threshold; the geo-fence instructs the electrical system in your house to turn on the lights. And while this concept is still in experimental stages, it is where our location apps are headed.

Personally, I have always been hesitant about the idea of geolocation and other users knowing where I am at all times.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: As an intern, you may want to change your tune, sister. How else do you expect snoopy directors to keep tabs on you?]

However, using location as a smart technology rather than a social outlet is something I would be willing to consider. Let’s lose the hassle of “checking-in,” try to make our location seem cool to others and focus on the technology that could simply make our lives better.

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