As I write this, we have been back just a few days from more than 16,000 miles of travel that started in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, made our way through San Francisco for the LAUNCH festival, and finally to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive.
Each of these brought us great meetings with new partners and a lot of lessons learned about the state of the mobile nation. At MWC, we saw handsets that are getting thinner, with larger screens and better audio like the HTC One.
The LAUNCH conference brought us old friends from last year, and new up-and comers like the 2012 winner of our 2011 Best Technology honor Captricity which takes paper forms and turns them into digitally readable documents.
Finally, at SXSW we hooked up with friends from the East & West coast, and all over Europe as well, to see the latest social software and applications that were breaking weeks before the conference.
The hype in Austin this year was around apps that would alert you to when you are in range of your friends or people whom you should meet. These used GPS satellites in the sky to setup “geo fencing” to compare your approximate location with another user of the same app. Leveraging GPS is easy, since all smartphone operating systems have the technology as a built-in API to plug right into your app. The problem though, is that GPS radios need a clear view of the sky to operate and because your body is made mostly of “radio blocking” water, trying to get a signal from a transmitter in outer-space is a difficult feat. Additionally, when you are inside a building, receiving GPS signals is next to impossible due to construction materials or even the metallic window tint or bonded coatings on some glass.
We dig a bit deeper into our solution around our Proximity Platform as a substitute for GPS based APIs through this story that we wrote for VentureBeat.
Why GPS-based smart apps failed to go viral at SXSW.
Take a look at the story and drop us a line through our contact page if you want to work with our API on the Android or iOS mobile operating systems! Although we are glad to be home now, we certainly will see you at the next mobile conference!