Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dutch Umbrella : A Location Based Service

Dutch Umbrella From the company website "1. A system for the free public use of umbrellas comprised of pick-up and drop-off locations within a defined urban area. 2. A community supported effort to encourage citywide sharing, enabling the convenience of any-time umbrellas. " The company plans to have bins across a city from which people can pick-up and replace - for free - umbrellas to use around the city. The bins called RainDrops are sponsored typically by a local store, which hopes that the extra foot traffic to its location will be turned into some sales. (I am sure a lot of bins are sponsored out of the genorosity of the local people too). To me this is the ultimate opportunity in location based services. Imagine what you could do with a GPS and a cheap LCD screen mounted underneath the umberella. As a person who has picked up an umberella walks around, the GPS system could pick and display ads of local stores. Such a system would be wonderful in the heart of a city - where many stores are located and act as a magnet for tourists and the locals (the 16th street mall in Denver comes to mind). An even simpler solution could be that the umberellas have an embedded RFID chip. As the user passes close to sponsoring business, a special sign could light up in the store window..... the possibilities for such a service are ENDLESS. But what a neat idea...... Umberellas are for rainy days only..... one could do it with cycles (I would love to see that)..... or maybe Segways (wishful thinking).

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