SoLoMo is changing your relationship to the world. Gimbal is mutating it.


SoLoMo is shorthand for Social, Local and Mobile. Almost every app you see and use has elements of SoLoMo. They are
mobile. They connect us to some aspect of social media. And they relate to your location. How our mobile devices connect us socially to our surroundings has long been the vision of where our world is going next.  It’s not the science fiction of Minority Report and holograms that greet you by name with a personalized ad when you pass a store. But some of those elements do exist. And just last Tuesday they got even closer when Qualcomm introduced Gimbal.

Smartphones and tablets today know who we are, where we are, what we like and who we like. Some people freak out about privacy issues. But, more and more, we are willing to give up certain privacies to enjoy a customized, relevant relationship with the with our own personal locale.  In this year’s SXSW panel on SoLoMo Redefined they went as far as to say the concept of privacy is going away. But, if it does go away, it’s because we want the things we can get when we just give up a little data.

Brands are starting to tap into SoLoMo

A lot of brands are finding ways to tie into SoLoMo because when is a better time to connect with a potential customer than when they are right at your door. One great example is the partnership between Foursquare and American Express. 

The basic deal is, if you’re willing to sync your American Express with your Foursquare, you can get additional savings at select locations. When you check in, the deal will pop up – usually it’s something like get credited $5 back when you purchase at this location if you use your card, once you’ve checked in and unlocked the Foursquare/American Express perk. I’ve done it at a number of places. It’s great. Just because I used these SoLoMo tools, money gets credited to my card!

Mobile 3.0 has arrived! Behold the future of the cell phone!

Last Tuesday, Qualcomm introduced Gimbal. It’s a new contextual awareness platform for cell phones and according to Robert Scoble, “these new systems are going to know whether you are walking, running, skiing. Whether you are shopping, working, entertaining yourself (it knows whether you are in church, or in a strip club, or at school, or at work, or driving). Thanks to the wifi and bluetooth radios it can even know you are riding in your wife’s car, not driving.”

In other words, it will get to know you, where you are, what you’re doing, what you like, what you want and where you last put it. Our mobile devices will be able to let us know when something we like is going to be near us or coming on TV. There will be the outside world that programmers put into the devices and apps and your own personal inside world, which is controlled by you. 

The mobile device will gather data from all the various sensors in your phone from GPS to temperature to what you’ve been browsing and what you’ve input into your social channels. Then at night, it will process the data and be smarter about you tomorrow. It will deliver info you want in the context of where you are and what you’re doing. It will be in your own personal context right down to whether you’re in the kitchen or the living room or poolside. And supposedly all that data will never leave your phone unless you tell it to.

Here’s a video from Gimbal describing what will do. 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-D3tT6TyF0&w=640&h=360]

What else should your phone do?

According to an article in Gigaom, this new system should allow your phone to easily roam between wireless hotspots, take better pictures and deliver better sound, communicate with your medical and personal health devices, load web pages faster and tell apps what you like and where you are. Its improved image recognition should help it see and understand the world around you better. And this is before the developers have even had time to play with it and invent new ways to use it.

So, are you finding what’s ahead in SoLoMo exciting, terrifying or a little of both? The future keeps approaching faster and faster. And mobile is all about connecting to the world around you in a local and social way. Are you ready for this?

Photo by Benoit Crouzet