Idea #3: Location and Context Aware Email

Idea

Create mail applications and/or mail client plugins that allow people to view their email with consideration to where they currently are and what they are doing. Webmail providers, such as gmail, could easily determine location as well using the location APIs now built into browsers and browser extensions. Some mail providers are letting users categorize their email using tags, instead of just using folders. Harness the location and tags to determine how mail fits into what the user wants to see.

Problem Statement

Now that email is available to people at all times on all devices, it is more important that email is clean of spam, and information is relevant to the task at hand. To facilitate this “cleanliness of mailbox” users often delete promotional emails from mailing lists that they signed up for, since the advertisements for the discounted wine seem spammy while they are busy at work, even if they like that wine shop. Emails from their favorite gadget shop or electronics store seem unimportant at the time as well. Delete. What if they could be ignored until the user is in a location that is more tuned to the mail? Once the user is at a bookstore, then the weekly Barnes & Noble mailing becomes more useful and interesting. The user’s mind is tuned to that line of thinking, and the email becomes less like junk, and more like supplemental content for their current context. The same thing applies to other kinds of mailing lists. Programmers subscribe to programming mailing lists, but the lists often contain information that is not immediately applicable, until the user is actually programming (or at least, working in some way). If the user is on their vacation, that programming mailing list content is likely to be deleted or at least ignored. Since email is one of the most popular forms of communication, the needs to be a way to better filter and manage the content coming in.

Market

Consumers and businesses looking to refine the way they interact with their email streams in an effort to make it more useful and more relevant to what they are doing, and thus improve productivity and profitability.

Revenue Strategy

  • Software licenses for new email client
  • Technology sold to large email service providers
  • None, given away as free software to encourage innovation.

Feasibility

This could be created with minimal effort, and may not require excessive knowledge of email clients if written for ones that had a plugin API such as Mozilla Thunderbird or MailPlane. Others will require more effort, or may not be extendable directly. Integrating with webmail service providers would be the most difficult endevour, and unless there is clear revenue potential, will not be worth the time and effort to pursue, but would have the most impact overall. This idea is very useful, but difficult to monetize.