Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Apple iOS5 location-based reminders for Just in Time/Place task assignment

RemindersApple introduced a new feature in the new iOS 5 that could open several opportunities for developers. As described by Apple here:

A better way to do to-dos.

Next time you think to yourself, “Don’t forget to...”, just pull out your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and jot it down. Reminders lets you organise your life in to-do lists — complete with deadlines and locations. Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next shopping trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket car park. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.
I have explored location-based reminders in one of my works on Kinetic User Interafaces. I instantiated this type of reminders to a shopping-list (UbiShop) scenario where a shared shopping-list is used to send reminders to people when they are located in a place where items in the list can be purchased (e.g. near a grocery store).
This not the only application of location-based reminders as it is applicable to several other situations. I called this "just-in-time/just-in-place" task assignment. You can find here a research article on this subject.
If Apple will provide API to manage location-based reminders within the OS for developers, what I have conceived can become a true reality. I am very excited about that and willing to dive into it.
You can watch below a video made by some of my students who implemented a prototype of Just-in-Time/Place reminders for the UbiShop scenario.