Saturday, April 11, 2009

When Sensors and Social Networks Mix

Richard MacManus, ReadWriteWeb

The integration of sensors with social networks will lead to real-time data and more useful web apps.

In recent posts we reviewed an MIT experiment called WikiCity, that gathered real-time location data from mobile phones in Rome and graphically mapped trends from it. We then looked at a more commercial product doing similar real-time location data analysis, called Citysense. That product aims to let users find the most popular night spots in San Francisco and the most efficient ways to get to them. The next stage of projects/products such as Wikicity and Citysense will be to enable users to social network, using data from sensors as one input.

Citysense is already heading in that direction, with the next release of its product aiming to guide 'tribes' of people together using location data. It will soon be able to show not only where anonymous groups of people are in real time, but where people with similar behavioral patterns to you are. To do this Citysense will categorize people into "tribes" - so far 20 tribes have been identified, including "young and edgy," "business traveler," "weekend mole," and "homebody." It will use not just GPS (location) data from mobile phones and taxis, but also publicly available company address data and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


See also Smart Mobs

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