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IT Support is all about Location. 

Location, Location, Location....

NOTE:  Please see updates at bottom of this article for the most current research.

Social Media articles about IT and support are getting a bit 2010 don't you think?  Let's see if we can move the discussion along.

ITSM, Help Desk, Service Desk, Customer Care, Call Center, all in the palm of your hand?

I have been railing for two years that we need an APP only service desk tool.  Customer, User, Tech, Manager, anything.  The idea of a web tool feels as useless as the idea of a windows program to me. 

Tonight I was reminded why my quest is so great.  While at the Apple Store, I was waiting for a sales person to check me out, A person from their Genius Bar said to me, just use the "app".

I inquired a bit more and found out, that the latest "apple store" app, allows you to "Scan" and check yourself out.

Ok, first apple redesigns music, phones, retail, support and now reinvents the LOCATION experience.

So let's do this real slow, Mobile gives a Help Desk user these features they DO NOT GET on a laptop/PC:

  • Proximity
  • Location
  • Camera
  • Voice In/Out
  • Vibrate
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • App Internet
  • Gesture
  • Touch

Location itself gives a tech, customer or user:


Location is vital to knowledge.  Some information is tied directly to where you are and is ONLY accessible when you are there.  Apps like foursquare, Facebook and Yelp all do an amazing job of augmenting my location based knowledge.  This ability for a customer or tech is groundbreaking.  Let customers leave knowledge, find knowledge, rate knowledge. 


For too long tasks have been tied to a date and time.  Most of my tasks are date, time OR location.  I should be able to have a task for my remote techs to setup a projector WHEN they get to a conference room.  This is wildly different than setting up something at a certain TIME.


Apps like Glancee tell you when people are NEAR that share your interest or skills.  When at an event or in a remote office, finding people with the skills or knowledge you need is essential.


Apps like Klout (mobile) and Rypple allow for real time feedback of coworkers, peers and management.  Why wait to thank someone, why fill out a session evaluation at a conference or give your opinon?  Applications now allow for people to evaluate people and transactions WHILE you are with them.  So next time you are at a conference (klout) or with a team member, give them a "swip" on the back!


The apple store app will let you scan a product and purchase it with no assistance.  Schedule an appointment with a tech or associate or see a schedule of up coming training.

I'm going to stop now.  After spending two and a half years asking for IT support to MAKE THIS HAPPEN, I'm done.  You don't have to worry about your call center being outsourced; your users just met their OWN SLA.

Remember innovation, it's what we did in IT before we made it a jobs program for displace knowledge workers.


June 11, 2013:  Apple introduces "Apps Near Me", this will change service catalog and assets forever.

October 30, 2012:  MyIT BMC Software becomes the first IT vendor to tie customer location into assets and knowledge.

November 8, 2012:  Cyborgcamp- While attending cyborgcamp I got to play with geoloqi a lot. Location based knowledge can also support API's to other services.  In the screen shot below you can see where integrations to pinball, self notes, and even wikipedia.  This allowed me to travel around portland and have informaiton layered to me.  Location became interest based. (p.s. Gartner remember to add this to the next research note)

November 1, 2012:  Evernote adds location as "Atlas" to notes.  

August 8, 2012Thanks Gartner for the Offiical endorsement.  

July 11, 2012:  Robert Scoble blogs about context aware computing.  Great video.

June 12, 2012:  Custom NFC tiles, bring actions to locations. via Samsung

JUNE 11, 2012: iOS 6 adds location based support to Passbook app.  Making where you are, as important for what you need, boarding passes, coupons for THAT store as WHEN you are there!  

APRIL 2012:  Uber car service is put into regular taxi's in Chicago.

In 2010 I urged the support business to focus on Social.  2011, I urged the support business to focus on Mobile.

In 2012, I'm urging again, please focus on Location.  Our customers are done waiting.

MARCH 18, 2012: Mac Ox 10.8 Adds Location Based Tasks To Mountain Lion.




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Reader Comments (4)

I agree. The best way that smart phones and their apps can benefit the human race is by knowing what their current location is and helping the user live a fuller life in that location.

Have a news app is fine, but that's just reading the newspaper on a different platform. It would be much more useful if you had an app that told you there's a concert on the block your on tomorrow and where you can buy tickets, or that a grocery store nearby is having a sale right now. Or going back to the news app, it should tell you the news that applies to a 50 mile radius from where you are.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAwards

Chris, I agree with a lot of what you have said in the past, but on this particular topic I am not buying it. On one hand you state that we are increasing mobile and aren't tied to a physical location, on the other you state that knowing the location you are at is critical to giving support. In a world where everyone is mobile, and the services we use reside in the cloud, I don't see how knowing someones location will help provide better support for what they are trying to do. Checking out of a physical store on an app is obvious, but helping someone accomplish a business function remotely shouldn't matter. If I am on the beach, in my home, or at the office the support model should all be the same and the location is not a useful attribute to collect for support.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris York

Chris, I can give you more examples but it sounds like you have thought about it a great deal. I can only assure you that I have a body of unpublished examples of how hyper local changes support, self service and disrupts what we think of as knowledge. Thanks for your feed back and your attention.

October 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Dancy

I completely agree, having an app only service desk tool is the dream of many business owners (and IT companies and consultants alike). As you mentioned it's all about location; more particularly it's all about mobility :-) Freedom of mobility gives you time and gives you flexibility to take care of so many very important tasks on the run! An app like this (that actually works) would come so in handy; the convenience of maintaining your IT infrastructure through your cell phone would be phenomenal! Although I foresee many issues in getting something like this set up and running smoothly. I mean the logistical nightmare of creating an app with the functionality that your clients would need would be astronomical! Not to mention support would for the app would have to be very robust as users will need a bit of guidance on exactly how to use the app (a common issue). Thanks for a great read!

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Crumlish

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by Chris Dancy