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Trendy Tuesday: Data & Location Apps

Location based apps were all the rage at this year's SXSW.

SXSW has developed a reputation for showcasing applications that captivate our imaginations and attention span, e.g., Twitter and Foursquare. This year's festival was no exception, and location-based applications were all the rage, encompassing people-discovery, retail and social good.

These programs merge the online and offline worlds, providing users with essential content based on their whereabouts. The heavy hitters like Sonar, Glancee and Highlight, pull data from a user's social networks to reveal surrounding connections that would have otherwise been overlooked. According to the global information security association ISACA, a surprising 58 percent of consumers who have a smart phone use location-based apps, validating the bright future of the said start-ups.

Aside from people discovery services, location optimized software is providing retailers with a wealth of opportunity-we're tuning in. Eliminating the need for paper coupons, ValuText is an application that offers deals and discounts to users based on their surroundings in real time. Not only do programs like ValuText strive to enhance the shopping experience, but they allow retailers an opportunity to harness the power of mobile by presenting users with an incentive to visit a store.

TaskRabbit, a mobile marketplace application, extracts a user's data to provide services around their location. Consumers post a list of tasks that they would prefer to outsource, anything from house chores to grocery shopping, and the maximum amount that they are willing to pay for services. TaskRabbit then identifies individuals in the user's vicinity willing to provide the services for the desired price.

The long and short of it is, mobile applications based on a users data and location can not only provide consumers with service whenever they want it, but where ever they need it too, ensuring that the previously mentioned start-ups will have a healthy line of successors.