APHalloween2013Once a year, we thrive off of getting spooked. We dress up in wild costumes, walk through dark and frightening forests, watch scary movies, and get sugar highs from bags and bags of candy. Some of the best technology companies even dress up in costumes.

Growing up, I didn’t like to be scared and I still won’t do more than one scary movie per year. Some of the worst fears were of perfectly amiable objects turning evil and working against us. Many movies have been created about robots gone rogue, or even household appliances like in The Brave Little Toaster that turned evil.

As our technology grows in pace with our dependence on appliances, cars, and our life lines to friends and family (otherwise known as our mobile devices), we need technology to work for us. For us, not against us.

There has been a lot of fright recently about our web traffic and other forms of communication being tracked by the NSA through Google, Yahoo! and others. Unfortunately, this has come to light right around the start of the holiday season when really exciting and empowering technology for customers is about to take off.

The concept that stores and malls are “tracking” customers has been in the news for the past year but now it’s taking off. Using location-based information, retailers are able to send important information to customers at just the right time, while they’re in the store. No more holding onto coupons, no searching through emails for deals – it’s all right there in your hand and it appears when you want it to. It sounds like something from the Jetsons.

Location is Everything.

Some smart device users do not like this idea and consider it an intrusion of privacy, but the goal of these location-based solutions is consumer empowerment and increase of ease while shopping and exploring the physical world. These devices are working for you, not against you.

Have you noticed that while shopping online, an item you recently looked at will be showcased in an advertisement at a different site? Shopping online is attractive because of the deals tailored to the individual – I am an Amazon Prime user and free shipping will always make me jump for joy. A physical shopping experience that knows who I am, what I like, and pushes me information and deals relevant to my current location sounds fantastic.

I’ll keep technology and my iPhone as my friend and let today scare me in other ways – Happy Halloween!