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SXSW Series #3: Location based services suddenly make sense.

Checked into my first hotel in Austin, a little one night stop before hitting the Hampton Inn and Suites with the rest of the SA delegation. My bag didn't arrive - which carries on a long and stormy relationship I have with baggage. And airlines. Ahem. Delta.

Anyhoo, the Delta Airlines lady was wonderfully pleasent and I should seeing my gear later.

Being a digital conference, I decided to give the whole location based social networking thing a try as I undertook first explorations of the city. Luckily I'm on an iPhone, so these services are fairly accessible.
A little patience and a lotta battery life is all you really need (many thanks Darryl Bernstein for the life-critical iPhone extra battery pack).

Wow.

So this location based thing really does make sense all of a sudden. Sitting in the hotel room, I switch on GoWalla and FourSquare and start checking out the live tips/comments and nearby places. 5 minutes later I'm sitting in Jo's coffee, a quaint cornerside cafe ordering the crowd-sourced favourite beverage.

While finding Jo's, I was also relevantly and non-intrusively exposed to two offers that I fully intend on checking out.

* some 'Sweet Leaf Tea' place will give me a free sample of a new iced tea if I show them my check in.
*the shop across the road (yes, I can see it) - will give a free something to every 5th check in from FourSquare.

(Definition - Check In: When the GPS on your phone identifies you at a particular location and you record that fact on a mobile application.)

The whole retail landscape changes when you have interactive discovery applications like these. Think SA is behind? Think again. Vincent Maher and his team at The Grid have been blowing this trumpet for a while.

Just need to increase the internet access levels...

Now. How to leverage. Would you 'check in' to your local FNB branch? For a free coffee or a better interest rate?

Haha!

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