Zcapes is a new Dutch start-up. I love the idea that context is a new long tail and the use of different plug-and-play meta-data and functional services and bots to define it. Meta-data covers
- the obvious — you, who, what, where and when
- the emerging — physiological inputs like heartrate, accelerometers
- or combinations like the geolocation of your social graph,
- deductions: if you’re moving on a train line, you are on a train; if you’re at a friend’s house with many friends, you are at a party
Zcapes helps segment information into appropriate contexts so that you can find the useful and usable information quickly when you’re in the context. You could think of this as the first stage of implicit search. Since who you are, what you’re interested in and who your friends are are part of your context, a first step in segmentation is individual personalisation. The only way to get that to scale is to enable people to publish information services that are useful to them, and allow others in similar contexts to find it more easily. Zcape promises to allow people to interact and transact in specific contexts, aggregate the relevant content for them. SPRXMobile, the company behind Zcapes, believes that this will make advertising something between push and pull. This is a rather familiar refrain, but one you can imagine working if the contexts are sufficiently granular and there is sufficient content. It has failed pretty spectacularly pretty regularly mostly because contexts don’t work or content is lacking (e.g. Facebook advertising), but it is unobtrusive and successful in a few situations (e.g. Adwords on Gmail).
One nice thing that drops out of this context platform is that many of the common business ideas can be recast as zcapes, e.g. geotagging iPhone or Flickr photos or playing certain music for different segments of your regular run, and yet it also gives some ways to add more social aspects to this, e.g. seeing who plays what music for location, seeing what twinsumers based on context buy in the store you’re in now. I think a key question there will be sufficient context granularity and functionality that users will want to build contextual microblogs in zcapes rather than a geo-aware twitter with photos (like twinkle).
Some of the services and bots SPRXMobile have pre-announced include the pretty ubiquitous weather for your location, flickr pix, microblogging with twitter and facebook and RSVP for invitees. It look like the launch use case will be: meeting up with a few mates downtown night, who’s in and (via implicit context search) where shall we go and what shall we do?
Indeed some of the example zcapes include a regular Friday movie night at work. Later on the roadmap are things like what is currently on TV.
All-in-all it looks like a promising mobile context platform. I for one will be trying it out when it releases