There are now more than one billion smart phones in the world, with more than 70% of adults in North America owning one. That means people are no longer tethered to their home or office when using the Internet. Instead, they're accessing the web from their phones wherever they go: retail stores, hospitals, stadiums, museums, hotels -- you name it.
For their part, these location-based businesses are scrambling to develop mobile apps that engage with these visitors. Mobile-app development is so fierce these location-based services are expected to generate $10 billion in revenue by 2016 (source: Strategy Analytics).
We at Meridian have a goal to make the development of apps for places as easy and powerful as possible. Our founders, who have more than 10 years of experience in location-based app development, have created a software platform that venues can use to create an app from scratch or to improve an existing one. The mobile apps our platform supports include those for retailers such as Macy's, hospitals such as Boston Children's, transportation providers such as the New York City subway and hotels such as the Venetian.
And, while a location-based app with regular 3G Internet connectivity is cool, one that's integrated with your venue's wifi infrastructure is ever better. That's why, together with Cisco, we're rolling out a super-simple way to connect an app to your Cisco wifi. In the 7.4 version of the Cisco Mobility Services Engine, venues will be able to just "check a box" in the software to make "indoor GPS" a snap. This is the same hardware and software combo used at the American Museum of Natural History -- the world's first "indoor GPS" app.
Why would a venue want to offer their visitors indoor positioning? Imagine having the helpful "glowing blue dot" on your phone when you enter a retail location and opt in. Now, your Meridian-powered app can receive turn-by-turn directions to products, facilities, ATMs and other helpful amenities.
And once the visitor opts into "indoor GPS" they can also choose to receive offers depending on where they are in a venue. Relevant, contextual advertising that a visitor actually wants when they're at your location.
Venues and third-party app developers working with locations can contact Meridian (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cisco to learn more about the technology options for leveraging this product integration for their mobile efforts.