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Fantastic Fraps & Where To Find Them

Unicorn Frappuccino Fanatacism Worldwide

This spring Starbucks was quite literally serving unicorn realness across North America and it almost broke the internet. Available from April 19 to 23 and precisely positioned for spring and selfies, the unicorn frappuccino could not have come out at a more perfect date, unless of course it had continued two days later until April 25th.

Beyond the seasonal timeliness, we live in a near-mythical era when the bright colors and identity-mocking magic of RuPaul’s Drag Race now graces a mainstream TV station, when fluorescent workout clothes look more like outfits for an EDM festival, and when unicorns rule the internet with rainbows and glitter. Simultaneously it is a time of widespread disillusionment spawning numerous post-apocalyptic movie franchises, crippling student debt, and rampant clicktivism. It seems Starbucks’ unicorn frappuccino with its promise of “magical flavors”, “color-changing spectacle”, and “fairy powders” may offer the youth the closest consolation to the fading American dream that money can buy.

But, as always, instead of delving into why the unicorn frappuccino is so brilliant, I’m going to tell you more about where to find these fantastic beasts, or atleast where people are tweeting about them.

“Unicorn Frappuccino” and “Unicorn” Tweets in North America during the fateful five-day frenzy

The unicorns decided to join their buggy-pulling, terrestrial cousins in New York and took it upon themselves to transform the City of Angeles into the City of Unicorns, atleast, that’s what the data says. The top locations that Twitter users tagged as they were enjoying these delightful drinks were Manhattan (17), Los Angeles (12), Toronto (9), and Starbucks (6), with about nine-thousand other options. Since it seems most users either wanted to tell you exactly where they were situated while consuming these colorful concoctions or perhaps were too mystified to care to where it was happening, I decided to create a tweet density map to visualize the spatial spread. Here we see New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto are joined by Chicago, San Francisco, Mexico City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Seattle. There are also three smaller urban areas that a closer look reveled to be Fresno, California, Aguascalientes and Zacatecas, Mexico, and the region around Salina, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Because the U.S., Mexico, and anglophone Canada (sorry Quebec) had the metropolitan areas with the greatest agglomerations of tweets, it’s no surprise that English and Spanish were the most popular unicorn tweet languages with 7,400 and 1,200 related tweets, respectively. They were followed by undefined (398), Italian (137), Tagalog (107), other (210).

TMZ posted about Starbucks’ “Unicorn Frappuccino” from it’s Downtown LA location on April 23rd

In addition to speaking a plethora of earthly parlances, unicorns also speak the language of business. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of pretty needs to check Instagram where there were over 180 thousand Instagram posts in one week. Furthermore, flocks of celerities, public figures, and various verified Twitter accounts wanted to get in on the fluorescent fun, making up 2.77% of the sample of about ten thousand tweets in this map of individual tweets. Part of the sugary sensations’s commercial and social media success may be that its bright colors and high sugar and low caffeine content cater to cool kids everywhere who grew up on Instagram and internet memes.

Which countries and cities can’t get enough of the unicorn frappuccino craze?

The unicorns may have made their earthly landing in North America and even captivated corporate America, but does the rest of the world care? The humans across the pond seemed to have some serious FOMO with high levels of frap fanaticism especially in London and near Carlisle. The rest of the world, on the other hand, seemed to have bigger concerns, like the French election. There were, however, some mentions of the mythical monsters in many major cities world-wide because the internet negates distances.

Starbucks lovers, fantasizing about frappuccinos

Unicorn dreamers, covering the internet in unicorns one pixel at a time

Because Beyonce’s Lemonade album, which incidentally dropped at exactly the same time last year (April 23rd, 2016), spawned a frenzy of lemon and bee emojis, I was curious to see if the recent Starbucks phenomenon would unleash a similar digital unicorn stampede this spring. Naturally, I compared the geographic distribution of “unicorn frappuccino” hashtags and keywords to those for the “unicorn” hashtag, keyword, and emoji, to see if there was any spatial relationship.

Generally, the major urban centers that were excited about unicorn frappuccinos also seemed to love unicorns, although the density of tweets varied somewhat between the search terms. Seattle, birthplace of Starbucks is more interested in frappuccinos, whereas Dallas, home of cowboys, is more interested in unicorns themselves. Filled with college students and young professionals, Philly people just want a sugar high to get through the week and are more concerned with drinks than actual unicorns. In general, the frappuccino-related tweets appeared to be more concentrated around urban or suburban areas whereas unicorns themselves found their way into the hearts, or alteast the servers, of misunderstood, internet-addicted teenagers everywhere, dreaming of escaping on a mythical beast.

Since the arrival of unicorn frappuccino, it seems more sugary surprises may follow through the otherworldly wormhole, including the Green Dragon Frappuccino. Will more fantastic fraps be landing in a location near you?

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Location Based Services : Expected Trends and Technological Advancements

Location data is a vital part of the mobile experience and enables some of the most widely used mobile apps, which can be used for geo-social networking, navigation and travel, retail and real estate searches, and mobile marketing and advertising. Whether used for locating friends in the area, finding the nearest restaurant or advertising deals to shoppers who are in the neighbourhood, location-based services (LBS) grant users access to relevant, up-to-date information about their surroundings and allow businesses to provide current updates to their customers. All these features offer a dynamic user experience, providing a new level of convenience that changes the way businesses interact with customers and other enterprises.

How it evolved?

The first two stages in the evolution of commercial location services have been location enhanced applications (such as local information like closest pizza) and location-based applications (such as navigation) in which location is intrinsic to the application.  In former, location arguably makes the application better (but it could stand by itself) and the latter represents applications that only make sense with location. The advancement in Hybrid location technologies had brought about major improvements in accuracy, reliability and the services that can be delivered. Due to these advances, LBS were increasingly being deployed in mission-critical applications such as guiding emergency services directly to a caller.

Past trends and statistics through which the LBS travelled

Among the smartphone activities measured, getting location-based information is the most universal task. Nine-in-ten smartphone owners use their phone to get directions, recommendations or other information related to their location, up from 74% in 2013.

Image on increasing use of smartphones for location related infoYounger adults are especially likely to reach for their phone for something other than calling and texting. Getting location-based information is the one activity measured that is common across all age groups, however.

Usage of smartphones by different age groups

Realizing the technological future of LBS

In terms of technology the demand is for Indoor LBS and vertical positioning. A lot of startups are working on this area by the fusion of wireless sensors, geo-magnetic field and beacons which will be complementing the GPS.

Usage and application of the LBS will experience a major shift, creating a better environment empowered by Artificial Intelligence. Driverless cars enhanced with LBS and AI will create a huge impact on transportation infrastructure. Augmented reality is yet another arena where the real and the virtual world are combined to deliver a broad range of application. The relevancy of such applications will be highly dependent on the location data.

The future may also experience the integration of Indoor and Outdoor LBS, which will facilitate a seamless M2M (machine to machine) communication. A wild imagination would be your car’s LBS communication with the heater at home and turning it on 10 minutes before you reach home to create a suitable environment when you reach home. Emergency cases, rescue operation and disaster management will receive limelight LBS in near future.

Status of locational privacy

All the location based applications to become a reality will force on compromising one’s privacy. Asif Khan, Founder & President LBMA at the Location World Confernce, Hydrebad highlighted that 6 years ago only 12-15% of the people at USA were comfortable with sharing the location data and now in 2017 it has increased to 60% . The reason for giving up on privacy is attributed to the relevancy of the information associated with LBS.

An infographic, made from the extensive research conducted by Skyhook found that 83% percent of app users say location is crucial to their app experiences, but nearly 40% are hesitant to share their location.

Info graph on LBS and privacy

Courtesy: Skyhook

The investments on location based marketing and services in 2017

According LBMA 2017 Global Location Trends Report, in a survey of “500 marketing decision makers,” 25% of marketing budgets are spent on location-based marketing and over 50% of brands are using location data to target customers. This represents billions of dollars. Location is an increasingly critical element of digital marketing for brands and enterprises. The key findings of the report is as follows:

– Company usage of location-based marketing is on the rise in most countries € 5 percent increase in the US from 2016 to 2017, 6 percent in Canada, 7 percent in the UK, and 3 percent in Singapore. Only Germany saw a 3 percent decrease in location-based marketing usage.
– Executives agree LBM is an important business issue and its importance will increase in 2017.
– Social Location Services and Location Based Advertising were the top areas of interest in 2016 and will continue to be so in 2017.
– Location-Based technology will increasingly be used for customer service and other non-marketing initiatives.

Trends and statistics of LBS in future

A report by technavio highlights that the LBS market will witness tremendous growth and will post a staggering CAGR (Compound annual Growth rate) of more than 43% in 2020. The number of deployments of local area networks and home area networks such as Wi-Fi and WLAN has been increasing globally, which is one the significant factors driving this market’s growth. The adoption of VPNs by business organizations enables them to provide indoor LBS on their premises.

The increasing popularity of cloud-based big data analytics is one of the upcoming trends gaining traction in the market. Big data analytics provide enriching insights on consumer buying patterns so that the retailers can increase their sales volume and enhance customer search experiences. Location-as-a-Service companies, such as GeoSpice, use big data analytics to offer cloud-based web services and mobile LBS, which can integrate real-time location information and data analytics.

The past analysis shows that the retail companies have dominated the Indoor LBS than other segments such as hospitals, airport, government agencies, public security and etc., Indoor LBS providers offer coupons and discounts through push and pull marketing technologies. These services also provide social information such as ratings and reviews, product videos, and recommended products, thereby improving the overall shopping experience. Additionally, location-based marketing is extensively used across different industries to send product or service promotional messages based on user location. Many companies use location-based apps for targeted advertisements to reach potential consumers in real time, which will aid in this segment’s growth over the next four years.

It’s just the beginning of the AI with LBS odyssey!

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