Matthew Sammut, Director at NIU Ltd., came up with a project named “Location Based Mobile Advertising” that exploits the global positioning system (GPS) function found in today’s mobile devices to deliver targeted advertising through SMS. “This area is relatively new around the world especially in Malta. Few applications have been built using location base services since the field is still being researched and experimented. Saying that, more and more smart phones are being equipped with GPS and so I took the opportunity to develop something using these new technologies,” explained to i-Tech Mr Sammut. The system works something like this: a person walking next to shop in Valletta receives an SMS alert on his/her mobile phone stating that if they show the message just received to the shop assistant on the day they will benefit from a discount on particular purchases. “With this system businesses are not wasting money by sending mass alerts to people that might be far away, abroad or in bed!
All the SMSs delivered are to people actually close to the business and more prone to generate a sale. The benefits to the client are the same … basically they are not bombarded with useless SMSs but with location based alerts that can be attractive and useful to them,” explained Mr Sammut. Like with all advertising, and especially on such a personal device as a mobile phone, there are privacy issues that have to be kept in mind. “This was a primary concern from day one of my research,” reassured Mr Sammut. “In order to tackle this issue I made sure to design the application in a way to let the user decide what to receive, let the user decide the quantity of ads to receive on a daily basis and also offer the user the chance to opt out at any time from the system.” Dr Matthew Montebello, the student’s tutor, explained why this project is a winner. “This project had the right balance of academic challenge and application development that brought together the cutting-edge technologies present in smart phones with the commercial need of such applications. The ability of this student to unite the real needs of the industry with the technologies available and the theoretical knowledge acquired during his studies at the Faculty of ICT, made the project stand out and address a specific niche that is commercially lucrative and technologically captivating. Apart from winning an Malta Internet Foundation award, this work was also accepted for publication at the 2010 WWW/Internet International conference held in Timisoara, Romania.” A demo of this project is accessible at www.malta-locate.me
This article has been featured on the Times of Malta and Times of Malta Online.