Do you know where you're going? Your smart phone soon will

July 17, 2012, University of Birmingham

( -- Your smart phone may soon be able to predict where you are going, according to research by University of Birmingham computer scientists.

The researchers have devised an algorithm which is able to capture your and those of your social group and can predict, down to 20 metres, where you might be 24 hours later.

This new data could provide invaluable to advertisers and retailers, as they will have the ability to recommend shops and restaurants in the location you are headed.

Dr. Mirco Musolesi, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Computer Science, who led the study, said: "Information extracted from the usage of a mobile phone is an intriguing source of data about people behaviour. We have shown that the accuracy of the prediction of an individual’s future locations could be improved if his or her previous movement and the mobility information of his or her are taken into account."

Dr Manlio De Domenico, who took part in the research, said, "In a world dominated by social networks and always-connected mobile devices, the potential applications of our study are many, in particular for marketing, , and personalised services. If a system is able to predict with reasonable accuracy where the user is directed, it could provide geo-localised and personalised recommendations based on his or her future movement. For example, a user might receive meal offers related to restaurants in the area they are moving towards."

Mr. Antonio Lima, a Ph.D. student of the School of Computer Science involved in the study, said: "In order to predict movements of people accurately, this study leverages their synchronicity and correlation. For example, friends John and Emily usually have lunch together either at a Chinese restaurant close to John's office. Sometimes, though, they like to go a little farther to a nice Italian restaurant. When Emily is heading to the Italian place, this algorithm uses this information to predict that John is very likely to go there soon as well."

The research has won the Nokia Mobile Data Open Challenge. The task was in the area of ‘big data mining’ requiring participants to analyse a large dataset containing various information about 200 mobile users over more than a year.

The researchers now hope to build a platform implementing the for supporting the development of third-party apps for personalised information retrieval and marketing. Another potential application area is law enforcement, for example, the prediction of the future location of criminal events.

The authors of the study will continue to work on the underlying questions related to the modelling and understanding of human behaviour such as ‘why do we move in the geographic space in the way we do?’ The availability of these data sets and the development of these techniques might help in answering this question.

Explore further: 3Qs: Is mobile marketing a trend or just trendy?

Related Stories

3Qs: Is mobile marketing a trend or just trendy?

May 18, 2011

Smart phone users are constantly on the move, and advertisers are increasingly trying to catch them along the way. Groupon, for instance, has now launched a service pitching deals to users based on their current location. ...

The phone that knows where you're going

June 22, 2012

( -- Can mobile phones predict our behavior? Three EPFL students won the "Nokia Mobile Data Challenge" by accurately predicting the place where phone users were likely to go next. Their method could be used to develop ...

What is the price of free?

March 6, 2012

Scientists from the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University have designed a method to improve privacy control in the Android apps market. The method reaches a balance between the need for developer’s revenue and ...

Experimental phone network uses virtual sticky notes

June 19, 2008

The rapid convergence of social networks, mobile phones and global positioning technology has given Duke University engineers the ability to create something they call "virtual sticky notes," site-specific messages that people ...

Recommended for you

Observation of quantized heating in quantum matter

February 19, 2019

Shaking a physical system typically heats it up, in the sense that the system continuously absorbs energy. When considering a circular shaking pattern, the amount of energy that is absorbed can potentially depend on the orientation ...

Sound waves let quantum systems 'talk' to one another

February 18, 2019

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have invented an innovative way for different types of quantum technology to "talk" to each other using sound. The study, published Feb. 11 in Nature ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2012
The researchers have devised an algorithm which is able to capture your mobility patterns and those of your social group and can predict, down to 20 metres, where you might be 24 hours later. This new data could provide invaluable information to advertisers and retailers ...

Such information could be invaluable to police, government agencies, stalkers, assassins, angry former spouses, etc. too.

Bad use of technology.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.