Monday, May 01, 2006

GeoVector Gets "Click On Real World" Patent

This intellectual property will play a big role in mobile marketing and physical world connection.

From Directions Mag GeoVector gets new patent for innovative mobile search

GeoVector Corporation, the world leader in pointing-based local search solutions for wireless devices, today announced the issuance of its latest patent for a unique location-based service (LBS) system which allows users to search the internet or query databases merely by pointing a wireless phone or other mobile device at a location or object.
View the demo

Users can point their phones at retailers, restaurants, billboards, banks or historical sites to instantly retrieve information on what they are looking at, or find what they are looking for.

Utilizing GPS technology and a digital compass built into wireless phones, GeoVector allows users to “Click on the Real World®” similar to how computer users point and click with a mouse to access information, conduct transactions or play games.

The solution currently utilizes Qualcomm SnapTrak® positioning technology and their BREW® solution.

"We revolutionized the way people use a wireless phone to interact with the world around them,” said Peter Ellenby, GeoVector’s Director of New Media.

GeoVector is not limiting its focus to Japan and is already in discussions with carriers, handset manufacturers and content providers in the US and Europe. The new patent has also been filed internationally.

“GeoVector’s pointing solutions will soon become the de facto world standard for local search,” added Ellenby. On April 3, 2006, a leading industry journal, RCR Wireless News, reported “This technology may well turn out to be the tail that wags the dog of nascent location-based services.”

Their patent list

Who wants to guess how long they stay independent?


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting technology, and I do wonder how exactly it might work in the real world.

One problem for a technology like this is that they can be victims of their own success, even if they can be made to work effectively. That is, as the set of objects to which you might link gets more populated, the problem becomes harder.

Suppose that you are standing close to a good number of things in which, potentially, you may have an interest -- say, two close by stores, or posters, or a poster on a store, or posters on a store itself populated with potential objects of interest. Well, which of these is REALLY the thing of interest to you? What are you really intending to find out more about?

While one of the supposed limitations of bar codes is that they require line-of-sight to work (as opposed to using general direction, or emanations from RFID chips), it is also one of its great virtues: you know which thing you have in mind because you point your camera or scanner at the code which is visible to the imager.

In short, the real ultimate issue for this technology, as with many others, is: how well does can it scale up? Is it doomed to introduce confusion once it gets widely adopted?

Anonymous said...

It may give me an answer to a question I don't really have. What's the good of that? Needs to know more about me and intuit a bit about what I might be interested in.

Peter M Ellenby said...

The data is all maintained by Mapion for the Japan application so updating and maintaining the data is their job and they are already doing it. The search can be defined by the, and can also be defined to be a certain distance and certain degree of search. The user is in the loop, and if you point at something you almost certainly have a question about it. barcodes are a good solution but the proximity needed to read them is the problem.

Anonymous said...

Peter, it's certainly good that the search can be constrained in various ways, but the problem will be that each such constraint and/or filter will require only further input by the user -- always the tough thing to begin with for mobile devices -- after all, why not just enter a visible code, or a specific search term?

In short, there's going to be a cloud of items of potential interest, and paring down that cloud could prove to be nearly as hard as simply entering the specific query.

I do think the application has potential, but I think it's a little hard to predict apriori just where and when and how often it's going to be both easy enough to use and genuinely helpful.

Peter M Ellenby said...

The cloud you speak of is far greater a problem when one does a 360 GPS only search. We refine the search with pointing so the results are far more refined. It's working well in Japan and will work well worldwide.

Anonymous said...


You're certainly right that the "cloud" is pared down by pointing and directional info. Of course, there are underlying inherent inaccuracies in GPS and coordinates of relevant entities in any case that will present issues.

My guess is that it will prove to be a useful technology when dealing with highly "macroscopic" objects -- buildings, landmarks, etc., but will prove far less helpful as objects become smaller and more plentiful -- which suggests it would be a good complementary technology to 2D bar codes, which do very well on smaller objects, and rather badly on big ones (unless you make them the size of poster or billboard).

It would certainly be useful to know just how accurate the technology is, and can be made to be, to get a better sense of its promise.

Anonymous said...

Tyically how accurate is the location and bearing?