As more and more geolocation apps hit the market, there is an enormous amount of data from these applications that can be mashed up to provide greater use to consumers. Location-based advertising and marketing service Placecast is hoping to help developers sort through all this data with the debut of LocalBox, an ‘all things location-based’ data funnel that allows carriers, handset manufacturers, and app developer communities to add location-based information from any source into a mobile operating system or software development kit (SDK) at scale.
LocalBox, which is in private beta, sources data about location in real time from a number of different open API’s, such as those for Foursquare, Gowalla, Citysearch and more, and then reconciles them all to a specific place. In addition to pulling in point of interest data from many different sources, LocalBox cleans up this data for duplicates, erroneous listings, and different expressions of a location, and then normalize them all to a single, correct location in real-time.
The new platform aggregates a number of different types of data for partners including, maps and listings data; venue pages (which include hours of operation, Flickr photos and more); check-ins and tweets; coupons, discount codes, and in-app location notifications from retailers; and transit and weather information.
For example, a yellow page listings provider who wants to a combination of real-time social media updates, venue information, and forms of monetization (location-relevant banner ads, coupons, discounts etc.) can do so using LocalBox.
Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, says that one of the virtues of the service is that all information is updated in realtime. So as new venues, reviews, tweets, coupons and check-ins are constantly being updated, LocalBox will deliver this data as it is being released. Goodman says that LocalBox also solves the problem of the ‘location data crosswalk,’ which is the issue of duplicate locations, erroneous data or different expressions of a single place. LocalBox claims to reconcile this problem by taking on the task of cleaning up the data for partners.
Placecast has been working with a number of partners (who the company declined to name) to use LocalBox for their applications, and Goodman claims that these companies are pleased with the platform’s capabilities. In terms of monetization, Placecast charges a one time fee to use LocalBox, and then issues a licensing charge to users.
Placecast also offers developers a free Match API that takes take duplicate listings for a venue and combine them into one listing. The startup, which recently raised $3 million in funding, also markets its technology, called ShopAlerts, that allows retailers to bring people into their stores by sending them text messages when they get near their retail outlets.