A couple of years ago while I was trying to fix iPhone reception at home I came across this technology know as Femto Cells. You may have heard of them under the AT&T branded name of Microcell. Basically they are a personal cell tower you can put in your home. They connect to your carriers phone network over your home’s internet connection. Pretty sweet. They are also programmable! Okay, so what?
Think about the problems involved in location based advertising. Your user needs to have an application running that checks it location and then reports into a central server which then sends out an ads. Alternately your carrier can continuously monitor your location and then sell your location to advertisers. Both system have serious draw backs. Keeping a GPS program running eats battery life and requires that the customer actually think to run the program. Having your carrier sell your location is a serious invasion of privacy. But if you created a sub-network of femto cells located at commercial locations and told the customers upfront that they can get better reception and discounts by registering there cell phone problem solved. The customer has opted in and you know exact where they are and they don’t have to do anything and pay no penalties in battery life.
This has been rolling around in the back of my head for a couple of years now and I just thought I’d throw out there. It would require serious resources and money, both of which I’m short on, so if you like it go for it!