Contextual Apps / Services based on real world data FTW

The online world continues to converge with the real world data and events. We see this everywhere with context being added to new services and I love it.  The punchline is a new service that is at the bottom of this post but I wanted to highlight a few stand alone  examples first.  We all hear about an Internet of things but the idea behind things is that they start transmitting data but the end goal is to allow services to become aware of context.

First up is Winter Wake-up which will automatically adjust your morning alarm 5 minutes earlier if it is snowing.  Nobody in San Diego will understand this problem but everybody who has to de-ice a windshield or shovel a walk sees the benefit.  If one doesn’t have the app you almost always have to wake up early just in case it snowed last night but with it you get peace of mind and extra sleep which are both nice lifestyle wins.

Next up is an old favorite of mine from Specialities.  Did you love warm chocolate chip cookies right from the oven growing up?  Ever wish that you could get that in the middle of the afternoon at work?  Well a nice group of people made the Cookie Radar which is connected to the ovens at the Specialties Cafe.  If you get a craving you can go check what was just finished and walk in or you can wait for the right flavor and make sure that you get it hot.  Fun and interesting to see people react to White Macadamia vs . Snicker-doodles

Along the same vein is the Krispy Kreme mobile app that indicates if the donuts are super fresh using the “Hot Light“.   When 30% of your traffic is foot traffic you want those people to come in more often as well as have a great experience.  If I am a person who is “delighted” by the idea of warm and gooey then I can tailor my experience to be awesome every time.

Other places that could benefit from this are busy sandwich shops.  Put a camera on the line and I can see when there is a lull to get faster service.  It would also be easy for impulse services to show open bookings without me having to call.  Why make me call you to find out when you are available?  As the shop owner wouldn’t you rather be doing something else than writing down my booking?  Make things easy for me and I will probably come by more often.

My new favorite nerd service is IFTTT is a place where you can take some “channels” or events and then execute automated action based on one of the events.  It stands for IF This Then That. You can literally see the digital actions and DNA being created and the best ideas shared. Here is a list of the “most popular” tasks, called recipes.  They will be bringing more channels online and who knows if they are able to get past the nerd clique to mainstream but the many to many connections are overwhelming engineering.  Services layers like this are going to be critical in the future and making the Internet of Things context aware is going to improve everybody’s experience.  Give people the tools and interesting things will happen, good luck IFTTT!

I would love to see is a mash-up of IFTTT and my buddies over at DropCam who are bringing video to the cloud.  Here are their public cams if you want to play around a bit with actions and motion capture.


About svmoneyball

A lifelong student of silicon valley. I also tend to play a lot of Ultimate Frisbee.
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