Time for Apps to Get Personal

March 20th, 2012

This article was first published by Digiday, where we contribute content.

Agency View: Vincent Higgins, experience design director, Tribal DDB
If you asked a room full of SXSW 2012 attendees to identify this year’s hot new app, the unanimous answer would be Highlight. There’s been a lot of hype around passive or ambient check-in apps this year, and Highlight is at the top of the category due to its low-friction sign-up and ease of use. Yes, it can be bit creepy at first, but once you spend some time using the app, you can see why it has become the must-have mobile tool of SXSW 2012.

As cool as they may be, location-based social experiences do not represent a great leap forward. This year, the most innovative project did not come from a giant tech company or a lean startup but from a sneaker company. On Sunday, Path announced that it would open its API to partners — the first being Nike.

At the SXSW managers hack event, an eight-hour hackathon oriented around digital-music distribution, Path and Nike partnered in hopes of facilitating innovation in this space. Spotify, Pandora and SoundHound also participated in the session, coming together to find new ways of incorporating music and fitness into the newly released Nike Fuel band product.

I believe that this partnership will lead the way towards more personal management utilities in the digital-experience space. Location-based apps are great, and I love to know where my friends are hanging out so I can join them for a cold one, but I’m ready for my relationship with apps to get more personal, helpful and focused on me.

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