Presence – the new location

There’s a subtle change about to happen to our mobile devices and the way we interact with them.  Today everyone is excited about the use of GPS in mobile phones to inform them of where they are.  That’s about to become old hat.  GPS applications are an interim step in terms of the evolution of location based applications, albeit an immensely valuable one.  But the more important concept is that of presence.

Presence is much more than just knowing where you are – it’s about communicating your presence with friends, the things around you and the web.  It also provides the ability to use that knowledge to determine how your personal devices and applications work.  Presence moves us from the paradigm of the traditional “You are here” sign, which applies to everyone in the area, to the far more personal concept of “I am here”.  It’s the next step in social networking and interacting with the web.  We’re already seeing the beginning of it with applications like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, but they’re only the start, as new technologies will make it even easier to gain an awareness of and invoke conversation with our surroundings.

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