Location-based Applications on the Mobile Phone--GetMobio and Where.com
Two applications seem to be in vogue. The first is Getmobio which makes mashups of location-based maps showing where to buy cheap gas, how to make reservations and find restaurants, and more. They call each mashup a “widget” of which they offer 50 of them free in a download. They launched the company at the January 2007 DEMO conference. This seems like a natural fit for a virtual instrumentation application. What about a location-based map showing where all the wireless sensors are placed and their current readings? There’s no need to run back to the central computer to see what’s happening. Many people no longer take their computer with them. They use their mobile phone to sync up.
Another application is called Where.com which also uses mashups of maps with applications such as weather reports, sports news, etc. Their site let’s you choose your phone type, enter your phone number and then it downloads the app straight to your phone. Then on the web you can drag and drop applets onto a picture of your phone which then downloads it over the air to your real phone. The user interface is quite slick and shows a nice interaction between the PC and the phone. The PC handles the setup and configuration while the mobile phone presents the content while you are away from the computer.
Based on these two examples, I could see virtual instrumentation leveraging the technologies to monitor a set of sensors or equipment with a map overlay showing the location of the device and its current reading. With a little more programming, one could add a range to each measurement and have the program initiate a phone call if a measurement goes out of range. The next step from there is to control the device or measurement network from your phone. One could setup a network so when the measurement goes out of range the user could use the mobile phone to turn the device off until a technician can go out and fix the problem.
I’m interested in your comments on what virtual instrumentation applications could be developed based on this technology.