Sunday, February 19, 2006
Recently announced research supported a nationally televised security industry expert’s assertion that the public is ready for GPS. The Boston University–led survey found a large percentage of respondents receptive to the notion of surveillance in the form of consumer-friendly P2P devices. The findings provided insight into effective strategies for marketing GPS technology to consumers.
GPS manufacturers who want to saturate the market face one remaining challenge. They must gain favor with consumers, and they’ll do this by marketing safety.
Graduate students at Boston University’s College of Communication conducted their research online. Conducted by graduate students, the study looked at 523 online adults’ receptivity to Person-to-Person (P2P) surveillance of loved ones and found 32 percent “likely to use such devices themselves.”
With research findings like this on their side, P2P device manufacturers should go to market en masse this year. The everyday consumer’s possible lack of preoccupation with privacy issues may be incongruent with professional privacy advocates’ agendas.
Verizon Wireless recently announced plans to market a P2P device. The company’s GPS-equipped cell phones will allow parents to track teenagers’ whereabouts.
People choose safety over privacy every time. Those pursuing the market for GPS technology can embrace this notion. GPS manufacturers will gain favor with consumers as safety enablers, not as an invaders of privacy.
Once the public becomes comfortable with GPS, the floodgates will open. Without fear of backlash, consumers, law enforcement officials, and manufacturers alike will then be free to adopt and provide GPS for its many uses.
GPS offers clear benefits for the law enforcement community. On Feb. 7, The Associated Press reported that police in Southern California are turning to GPS technology to curb high-speed pursuit. According to the article, a small number of police cruisers there will receive the StarChase systems, which allows users to shoot GPS-enabled darts that stick to fleeing vehicles.
GPS is the security industry’s ‘killer app,’ the breakthrough that will change everything. Professionals in security have always dreamed of a solution that would make the bad guy’s job impossible. That solution has remained elusive until now. GPS has the potential to make crime as we know it extinct.
The law enforcement market segment is ready to embrace GPS technology, the ‘killer app,’ with abandon, and consumers interested in safety will continue to recognize the technology’s benefits. Manufacturers will position themselves to profit from these opportunities, and, as counterpoint, privacy advocates will react by decrying the dangers that GPS poses to our civil liberties. But the market, which comprises all these factions, will make the final decision.