In the public dialogue about mobile privacy concerns, I’ve yet to hear a plea to turn back the clock to when mobile apps were supported by subscription fees. Surprisingly, many consumers don’t understand the devil pact that free services come with a loss of privacy. With the exception of enterprise offerings, subscription fees have shrunk or disappeared for most location-based services. At the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the University of Southern California, Allison Cera of Lucent-Alcatel talked about the intersection of technology and identity. More than half of the people in her study felt they shouldn’t have to provide information about themselves just to get the most out of online services. Among the most connected technology users, the expectation of privacy was lower.
You know where I’ve been. Would consumers exchange transparency into whereabouts and driving behavior for a cheaper insurance premium? TomTom is providing the technology behind a new insurance product, which bases premiums on driving behavior. TomTom has teamed up with insurance broker Motaquote for the launch of Fair Pay Insurance, a product that rewards “good” drivers with lower premiums. Drivers who sign up for Fair Pay receive a TomTom navigation device. They will also have a LINK tracking unit fitted in their vehicles, allowing driver behavior and habits to be monitored by the insurer. This information can also be viewed by the policy-holder in their driver dashboard.
A kick without GPS. Mobile location-based advertising, dependent on geo-locating shoppers, hasn’t ramped up as fast as the industry diviners predicted, but shopkick, a location-based shopping app has gotten traction. The company asserts that it helped drive $110 million of in-store revenue to its retail partners in 2011. shopkick rewards shoppers for walking into stores and interacting with products. The solution is not GPS based, as indoor signals remain problematic. Instead, the shopkick phone app detects its presence in a particular store by “hearing” a signal that is emitted from a store-based device. The store is able to send the shopper a reward that can be redeemed for loot.
Pressure mounts for LightSquared. Sprint has given LightSquared until mid-March to obtain FCC clearance for its LTE network. Recent government tests showed that LightSquared interfered with GPS, even under a new deployment plan that the company promoted as a fix to the issue. Lightsquared’s assertion that GPS receivers are “not entitled to any interference protection whatsoever” is open for public comment at the FCC until March 13. Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund that backs LightSquared, reported a 47% decline in its biggest fund.
Love on the Road. Valentine’s Day was yesterday, and love is in bloom. TomTom undertook a mission to find love on the asphalt by seeking roads in the U.S. that are considered romantically named. Texas was a stand out with 102 miles of romantically named roads. Who would’ve thought that the lone star state was such a softie? The most common romantic road names are Rose Road, Lover’s Lane, Valentine Road, Darling Road and Love Street. TomTom counted roads throughout the U.S. containing the words: Couples, Cupid, Darling, Forget-Me-Not, Kiss, Love, Lover, Romance, Rose, Smooch, Sweetheart, Valentine. Smooch Street?