At 64 I am one of a few people in the United States who is trying out a new app called Placeme by Alohar (www.alohar.com). Many people are going to be horrified by this app but I love it. I am as paranoid and insecure as the next person but I think the advantages and benefits of Placeme far outweigh any of the concerns people have today about apps that track your whereabouts. The correct terminology is mobile location or ambient location technology.
I am not going to spend time convincing anyone to use Placeme. The same people who refuse to use Facebook and other social marketing platforms will be the last to adopt ( or maybe never) a technology that follows you around and automatically logs where you have been day by day. I remember when New York and New Jersey first introduced E-ZPass. A client that worked for a huge TV manufacturer was furious that the state was going to be able to track how many times a day he traveled back and forth from home to work. He refused to use E-ZPass for the first few years. He would wait an extra 15 minutes in the cash lane on the George Washington Bridge twice a day just because he believed that some higher authority was going to use this info against him or provide his employer with data he didn’t want them to have.
Guess what this guy does for a living today? He sells advertising on Facebook. I guess he came to the realization that you can’t stop progress. I haven’t questioned him about this in years but I bet he would deny ever doubting E-ZPass. There are plenty of other people like him. From my observation, the people who are afraid of getting involved with any kind of tech that shares information usually have nothing to hide. These aren’t criminals. They are just people who play it “safe” their entire lives. They think they are some kind of hero for keeping the status quo. They love being stubborn.
I love needling them when they finally breakdown and become a part of the digital revolution. They all have their excuses for finally succumbing. All of them are lame, but I eventually let them get away with it. I truly enjoy when the 55-plus crowd appreciate what is being created and developed during their lifetime. I am not saying that young folks too don’t question ambient technology. It is one of the biggest “privacy” discussions today. However, they are all using mobile apps that broadcast their every move. The popularity of Facebook’s “Places” and Foursquare are proof that this is the direction we are all going in the next year or two. If you question what I just said, just remember how scared you were the first time you entered your credit card information online to buy something.
Placeme is not a social marketing app. It shares nothing unless you specifically ask it to. The purpose of the app is to give you a personal diary of where you have been every day. When communicating with Alohar’s servers, the Placeme App uses industry standard SSL technology. SSL encrypts all data communications between your phone and Alohar’s servers, so your personal information is always safe from hackers.
I don’t know about you but having a digital diary that automatically files the locations that I visit each day of my life is like giving me a picture book of my personal journey. I am so busy multitasking plus nailing down what I need to do in the upcoming days, I can barely remember what I did yesterday, much less a week ago. Yes I can check my Outlook calendar, but do you think I update my records that methodically? No! I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to relive what I did a week, a month, a year ago. I can’t remember the names of restaurants, plays, concerts, or museums that I’ve been to. Not only is everything listed, but because of Google maps I can get to see the actual places again. Just think of reliving a vacation, or a fabulous date, or a special Meetup. It is all there for my viewing with Placeme. I feel like I am getting a life bonus.
I feel so fortunate to have a technology that affords me this ability. Just for the record, I do not work for or with Alohar. I found out about the app (which has not been publicly announced yet) from their marketing manager who used to work for one of my former clients. You can get the app too. It’s available in the iPhone (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/placeme/id501165259?mt=8) and Android app stores.