Tech giants are racing to find the newest way to the top. Acquisitions are a popular way to grow an established company’s reach to a new audience and with impressive new abilities. Mobile continues to be a hot concentration for internal growth and in acquisition possibilities. What makes one company more attractive than another? There’s no one answer but location has been a popular prime ingredients.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it will put $15 million into Foursquare, a company that originated purely off location. Why? To improve the contextual awareness of other Microsoft products such as Bing and Windows Phone.
Without too much comment on the impact this can have on competitors of Microsoft (I have to mention Google and Waze), the reasoning is sound. The ability to push notifications to a mobile device based on location is here – think of iBeacons in retail stores, beacons at the Super Bowl last weekend, and our own ZoneDefense. The ability to push notifications that you’re actually interested in? That’s what we all want. We want location notifications to be aware of who we are.
But, wait. Don’t forget about security. There is no appeal of notifications and the level of monitoring that it requires if an individual’s security is put into limbo. The government is working to increase the safety and security of their mobile workforce – 53% of agencies require employees to take mobile device security training, while the private industry is estimated at only 13%. The intersection of location and government may happen at the security innovation center in Washington, DC. This new center is sponsored by the familiar and, in some cases, favorite BlackBerry.
Tech continues to build and innovate at an exponential rate but we cannot forget the security roots that have made it possible for established companies to last. A reputation is easily tarnished as seen with the recent issues at Target and location applications created without a basis in security can be dangerous. While racing neck and neck, we must not forget the ropes and safety devices that guided our path to the top. After all, if your current location is standing on top of a mountain, it only feels good if you don’t fall.