Because you're usually on the move when you surf the "wireless Web," shouldn't the Web move right along with you? That's the thinking behind GeePS, a new location-based wireless technology that directs travelers to vendors based on Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and other technologies. This product from Cranbury, New Jersey, start-up GeePS.com Inc. (www.geeps.com) is currently undergoing trials, with plans to go national by the late third quarter.
Based on WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), the GeePS service is free to users but requires that your phone or PDA include positioning capability. To find out what's shaking nearby, you simply tune in to the GeePS Web site to view a profile-filtered list of participating businesses in the neighborhood with merchants offering promotions or discounts designated by a special icon. Once there, you collect your discount by displaying your onscreen coupon. The result: convenience and savings for business travelers and new walk-in promotion opportunities for merchants.
GeePS offers listing and site hosting for free, but charges merchants revenue-sharing fees for posting a coupon icon. In the future, says GeePS CEO Andy Goren, GeePS will be able to identify cross- sale and up-sale tie-ins within stores and even transact payments directly from the phone.
The success of GeePS may hinge on the spread of phones and PDAs with positional capability. The FCC has mandated that, by October 2001, all such devices include Enhanced 911 (E911) services for life-saving purposes. To comply, vendors can use a variety of positioning technologies, including GPS or triangulation.
Eric Brown, a regular contributor to pcworld.com, is a writer living in the Boston area.