Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, words and deeds

Windows Phone 7 needs a Location hub

with 14 comments

Windows Phone 7 has introduced the notion of hubs. Hubs are essentially parts of the phone OS that aggregate information pertaining to a particular “thing”; right now those six “things” are:

  • Music & Video
  • Games
  • People
  • Pictures
  • Marketplace
  • Office

I’m of the opinion that there should be a seventh hub – Location. There are many services today that provide location specific data (Foursquare & Flickr are two such examples)although I can safely predict that the number of these will grow exponentially over the coming years. On Windows Phone 7 right now there is no way to present location-centric information in a single place – hence why I believe there is a need for a Location hub.

In this (currently mythical) scenario apps would be able to publish information that is relevant to the user’s current location into this Location hub in much the same way that (e.g.) the SmugMug app currently publishes photos into the pictures hub. The Location hub would display all of that information on a map and the user could zoom in/out to see more or less information as they please. I can think of many apps, or types of apps, that could take advantage of this:

  • Foursquare could publish check-ins
  • Twitter could publish geo-tagged tweets
  • Retailers could publish special offers (“Come to our store on Oxford Street in the next 10 minutes with your Windows Phone and receive a discount”)
  • London Underground could publish an overlay of the tube network, including real-time train information
  • Event sites like Eventful, Elmcity and Upcoming could publish local events
  • OpenTable (who already have an app in the Windows Phone marketplace) could publish information about nearby restaurants
  • Weather apps could overlay current or future weather conditions
  • Transport for London could publish up-to-the-minute information about their “boris bikes” such as which stations currently have bikes available
  • Your friends could share their location which could get published into the hub (this suggestion came from Todd Mcdermid)
  • Apps that provide data about public amenities (letter boxes, public toilets, post offices etc…) could overlay that information on the Location hub

The more I consider this the more I think its a fantastic idea (well, I would, wouldn’t I) and the more I become amazed that Microsoft didn’t provide it straight off the bat. I realise there’s little chance that this little blog post will reach the powers that be and make a difference but still, I can live in hope!

Let me know that you think. What other information could end up in a Location hub?

@Jamiet

UPDATE: Vote for this idea on the Windows Phone 7 Community Wishlist at : New
hub for “Location” data

 

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Written by Jamiet

October 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

14 Responses

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  1. I honestly think this is a great Idea! Kudos to you! If I can think of anything to add, I definitely will and I will make sure we check back in and spread the word!

    Your friends at
    winphonejunkies

    Christian W.

    October 26, 2010 at 9:16 pm

  2. Great idea! Notifications that someone you knew was near you would be very cool. Imagine having a 4 hour layover at a major airport and asking your location hub if anyone you knew was nearby.

    NULLgarity

    October 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

  3. NULLgarity (Brian),
    Yeah spot on. And what if that same hub showed you information about amenities/shops in the airport and you could overlay them all together?
    That’s the key here – aggregating any data that has a location context all in a single place.

    -Jamie

    Jamie Thomson

    October 27, 2010 at 9:17 am

  4. Exactly. Another thing I want – and perhaps there’s “an app for it” is a “shopping list” that knows where I am. I make my list for certain locations – like “Plywood” at “The Home Depot” – and the next time I’m there (and not traveling at 50km/h) it buzzes me to remind me to pick up things on my list.
    A location hub would be a good place for that info as well – answering the question “what can/could/should I do here?”

    Todd McDermid

    October 27, 2010 at 4:36 pm

  5. Hey Jamie – I’ve been meaning to do something with two of my domains for a while … whoarenearme.com and thatarenearme.com 😉

    Ed Gillett

    October 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm

  6. Location should just be baked in to the other hubs and apps. You don’t need a location hub.

    James Senior

    November 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  7. Hey James,
    Sorry man – I disagree. There’s nowhere on the phone to see all types of Location data in one place – i.e. there’s no aggregation of location data.
    Of course, Hubs and apps should all present location data where appropriate – but they should all be able to publish into a place where it all gets aggregated too.

    -Jamie

    Jamie Thomson

    November 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  8. I’m with Jamie. Then again maybe us Business Intelligence guys just have a natural tendency to want to aggregate everything 😉

    Ed Gillett

    November 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

  9. Ed,
    Yeah, that occurred to me as well actually! 🙂

    Jamie

    Jamiet

    November 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  10. Great idea… Now if only Microsoft would actually listen to the people that use their devices.

    Steve

    November 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm

  11. Hi folks,
    If you like this “Location hub” idea you can vote for it at the Widows Phone 7 Community Wishlist at http://bit.ly/cDJU1A

    -Jamie

    Jamiet

    November 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

  12. […] Read Jamie’s full proposal here. […]

  13. I agree wholeheartedly Jamie, I also think there should be an extensible News Hub, where RSS feeds, News Web Site apps, Blogs, and other apps could aggregate their data to a page in the panoramic page. I’d also like to have the ability to take that information and have the user be able to select which feeds get added to the panoramic view, in what order, and what feeds get pushed to the live tile . If MS setup a server farm that as part of the annual developers license fee, and owned the service that would push information to the live tiles, they could easily make their platform much more attractive to developers and consumers, plush this would encourage developers to think of Live Tiles throughout their development process instead of a “nice to have” if I can afford the cost of setting up the infrastructure to support it.

    If it worked out, they could easily set this up as an annual subscription service and make good money from it.

    I’d also like to see the same thing happen to the other hubs, especially the people hub where Linked In and other social networks that would encourage the use of the phone since it would have native integration with MS guidance.

    Drewidian

    December 6, 2010 at 2:11 am

  14. […] Posted on February 23, 2011 by Jamiet On 26th October 2010 I published a blog post entitled Windows Phone 7 needs a location hub where I opined that the current Bing Maps application on Windows Phone 7 is rather limited because […]


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