Yep, it's the end of the year again, time to start thinking of what is ahead.
Trendwatching.com just posted half a dozen of trends for 2009, including what they call MapaMania. The post explains how they wonder if 2009 will be the year in which all things ‘contextual’, ‘app’, ‘local’, ‘urban’, 'tags', 'lidar', ‘smartphone’, ‘convenience’, 'Cell ID', ‘spontaneity’, ‘infolust’, and ‘GPS’ come together in one orgasmic celebration of map-based tracking, finding, knowing and connecting?
This brings me back to my previous post on Location Based Survey and on the iPhone and market research. Will 2009 be the year in which market research will actually start working towards location based surveys? But if we just think a bit further on how this may impact our industry, let’s just remember that a future version of the iPhone will most definitively be a transmitter for the Global Positioning System (GPS). This will offer researchers the opportunity to exploit the user’s physical location and link this to mobile survey data. This will than offer researchers an opportunity to conduct “point of exposure” data collection centred on event tracking: Track the respondent's proximity to outdoor advertising, allowing effectiveness research, probing for recall, etc. The accuracy and precision will only become much greater in the next few years.
Embraced by eager consumer masses who will flock to anything from friend-finders to lowest-gas-price-locators? Aided by services that already know which street users are on?
Nokias expect half of their handsets to be GPS enabled by 2010-2012). MapQuests, Navteqs, and TomToms of this world continue to build the necessary infrastructure, devices and apps, any market research company would be stupid not to be partnering or experimenting with these map-based services.
Why? Geography is about everything that is (literally) close to consumers, and it's a universally familiar method of organizing, finding and tracking relevant information on objects, events and people. And now that superior geographical information is accessible on-the-go, from in-car navigation to iPhones, the sky is the limit.
So to conclude the future of market research will undoubtedly bring a new reality:
- in which the “portable Internet” will provide researchers with more timely, comprehensive and accurate recall of consumer experience, and
- in which the combination of consumer and product data with occasion-based event information will provide a new way of data collection.