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Location Based Services – April 25, 2008

INmobile.org is a exclusive community for executives in wireless industry. As a member, I have the opportunity to participate in a number of interesting discussions about mobile and wireless technology. Here’s a summary of the points made in a recent discussion about location based services. Thanks goes to Adam Zawel for this excellent summary.
While no one suggests that operators should EXCLUSIVELY focus on their own location-based applications, there is debate about how fully the carriers should embrace the open 3rd party route:
Ashish Thomas from Singapore Telecom agrees with Walt Doyle of uLocate:
“the business models are simply not there yet to merit or justify one route or another…if a carrier goes the third party way there is fear of losing (or diminishing ) a potentially large revenue source”
Lloyd Williams from NewStep Networks adds:
“…High volume services with relatively generic functionality that can be applied across a broad base of users is ….[the operators’] sweet spot. Highly customizable applications are more of a challenge and therefore the internet model works better.Most comments, however, focus squarely on the value to carriers (and especially the ecosystem overall) if carriers focus on location as an “enabler”,
Asais Sudit, CEO of LOC-AID Technologies says:
“Inter-carrier raw location data, along with some additional attributes, will create the necessary ecosystem for third party developers/channels to make location an indispensable part of mobility.”
Tony Rose from Drop In Media adds:
“…opening up the location API’s to developers and create a competitive environment where the best applications will float to the top.”
Matt Kapp, CEO of Ozmota says:
“Location is a key variable to many innovative applications, including the ability to create new marketplaces from the virtual representation of space.”
Larry Corvari (a regional U.S. service provider executive) says he wants to provide
“open access via a standard set of published web objects” and support his enterprise customers with presence and LBS capabilities.”
Paul Nerger, dotMobi suggests
“If I was an operator, I would open up and start by publishing my data via OpenCellID.”The carriers can provide value on top of a free or low priced location API service:
Matthew Roth from StudioComm (WPP agency) says:
“… it makes much more sense to open up the location APIs and charge for access to the demographic data of the subscriber.… combined with lat/long within a mobile web or SMS based campaign would provide the necessary catalyst for brands and marketers to embrace mobile in the same ways they now embrace the Internet.”….In any case, the ecosystem may not wait around for the carriers too much longer:
Kevin Jackson of Sirius Computer Solutions:
“Absent industry-wide cooperation and adoption of an open source philosophy, competition and consolidation will force many carriers to fail.”
Ole Jakob Thorsen, Arctic ApS CEO describes a start-up solution that can turn Kevin’s warning into reality.
“…any service provider with access to user SIM cards can build any type of LBS without even telling the operator about it”
Follow me at https://Twitter.com/Kevin_Jackson

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