One of the non-urban websites I frequent is Trendwatching. Trendwatching is an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm, that provides cutting edge and unique insights into consumer trends and business ideas. It is a great site to keep on top of what is happening in the broader world.
Every so often, their business trends intersect with my interest in urbanism. This month is a case in point. There featured trend is CITYSUMER. I’ve posted highlights from their briefing on my Posterous account, but I wanted to look a bit deeper at one of the opportunities that Trendwatching highlights here on my blog.
‘Online’ increasingly drives and enables offline encounters
The opportunity they mention is Enabling Urban Encounters. This is an issue close to my heart. Some of you may recall that I discussed how social media makes my city smaller in a post I wrote in July 2010.
I’m glad the see that I’m not alone in this position. Indeed, Trendwatching has Identified mobile app as a major opportunity for businesses in the months and years ahead:
Despite ever-increasing amounts of time spent online, audiences aren’t retreating into virtual worlds. Au contraire, CITYSUMERS will forever enjoy connecting with other, real-life human beings, and embrace the choice, the excitement, the frenetic pace, the spontaneity, the chaotic vibrancy offered by urban life.
In my original post I covered several social media apps that I use to navigate and make connections in the sprawl-topia called Phoenix. These include Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, Gowalla and Whrrl. In their article, Trendwatching highlights several most smart phone apps, noting that:
‘Online’ (especially with smart phones being the new laptops) increasingly drives and enables offline encounters.
- Geomium is an iPhone app launched in September 2010 in London that informs the user of where their friends are, what events are on in their area, as well as helping them discover local bars, restaurants and places of interest.
- Foursquare competitor Gowalla decided to curate their content for select cities via City Pages. These pages provide a display of popular places, what’s “hot now,” highlights from a variety of venue categories (e.g. best burgers, best coffee), and even coordinated trips throughout these urban areas.
- German company Locamap GmbH provides gay men with a guide to cities across Germany, Austria, USA and the UK.
- In May 2010, Yahoo! bought Indonesian social networking service Koprol that allows users to connect based on location. Mobile users can post a 200 character status message and use the site as a positioning service, without the need for a GPS receiver. Once logged in, users can see other members who are in the same location.
- US based Ratio Finder, launched in mid 2010, uses Foursquare’s API to show a heatmap with blue and pink bubbles, the size and color intensity of which displays the sex ratio of the check-ins at various restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
Be sure to check out the entire brief. The highlight other interesting opportunities, including, Celebrating Urban Pride, enriching the Urban Canvas, Pushing the Urban Envelope and Urban Transcendence.
Do you use mobile technology to help you navigate your city or enhance encounters with friends? if so, what are you favorite mobile apps?