Over the past 5 years, I have had a simple mission of enabling location awareness on the web.
At Virginia Tech, we built an early version of a location awareness platform using WiFi that culminated in a few Windows Mobile apps and my masters thesis. The basic conclusions were that application developers dont care about how you sense location, they care about location itself and context about that location. Taking it one step further, developers want a standard interface to get location, ideally agnostic of platform. Having developed SeeVT (with Dr Scott McCrickard and a great team of fellow students at VT) as a platform, I was ready for bringing my learnings to the real world and moved to Silicon Valley.
With a broader canvas at Feeva, I went to work on envisioning and creating a platform that would leverage the core infrastructure of the Internet (routers) to add the context of location to one of its fundamental information exchange protocols (HTTP). During this effort, I had the unique opportunity of sitting at the intersection of varying interests of some of the largest players on the Internet — from the access infrastructure, vendors, content owners and privacy advocates. While we managed to do accomplish a great deal, Feeva recently succumbed to financial and market timing related challenges in its way.
Looking ahead, I continue to be very enthusiastic about “location” on the web.
There is a great deal of action around location today, with the likes of Foursquare (check-ins), GroupOn (local deals), and an ever growing list of apps that leverage location awareness on iOS, Android, and the desktop web. This is also a time when the mainstream begins to take notice of what we geeks have been obsessing about for the past half decade. And that is what brings me to my next gig at Quova !
Quova is the leading provider of location (using IP addresses) to the largest providers of content and services on the Internet today. The leading providers of ecommerce, search, advertising, fraud detection, and content personalization rely on the Quova platform to understand “where” their customers come from. Quova has built its leadership position on a series of unique capabilities that allow it to “map” the internet infrastructure more accurately than other providers of similar services. Quova was recently acquired by Neustar, which operates several pieces of critical infrastructure for telecommunications and the Internet across the world.
At Quova, I am working on a team to create its next generation platform that helps our customers achieve greater accuracy ! …the effort will be a combination of algorithms, architecture, and service delivery innovations. More about this soon !
The web continues to be an area ripe for innovation, and location will play a central role over the next 5 years. Of which, I hope to create some value for our customers at Quova and beyond.