Published in TDAN.com April 2007
Location Based Services at Your Call
OK. So what is the definition of Location-based Services (LBS). There are several but one, from Searchnetworking.com, seems to cover the area pretty well:
“Location-based services (LBS) are services that exploit knowledge about where an information
device user is located. For example, the user of a wireless-connected smartphone could be shown ads specific to the region the user is traveling in.
Location-based services exploit any of several technologies for knowing where a network user is geographically located. One is the Global Positioning System (GPS), based on a collection of 24
Navstar satellites developed originally for the U.S. Department of Defense. A land-based GPS receiver uses these satellites to determine its location, within 50 meters to 100 meters. A
location-based service could require that each of its users have a mobile device that contains a GPS receiver. A second approach is E911, an initiative of the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) that requires wireless carriers to pinpoint a caller’s telephone number to emergency dispatchers. E911 also ensures that carriers will be able to provide call locations from wireless phones.
E911 is the most widely used location-based service in the U.S.”
In an article January 26, 2007 article written for Business 2.0 Magazine by Michal Lev-Ram he indicates “By the end of last year, all four major U.S. wireless carriers had launched
location-based offerings such as turn-by-turn directions, mapping and “family finder” services for cell phones.
Indeed, ABI Research predicts that, within five years, 335 million North American consumers will subscribe to location-based mobile services on their handsets.
It’s estimated that, by the end of this year, as many as 63 percent of phones sold in North America will have built-in GPS chipsets, up from 55 percent in 2006, according to Gartner Research.
‘Within the next couple of years, we envision that navigation functions will be a standard on mobile phones,’ says Kim Fennell, CEO of deCarta, maker of the mapping software that powers
most U.S. carriers’ location-based offerings.”
Take a hypothetical trip with me to another state where my wife and I are visiting in preparation for a new job that I am taking. We are leaving our two daughters at home while we are out of town
but we want to know where they are in case of an emergency. So I contact my service provide and for about $10 a month I can have a family locator service (such as Sprint Nextel’s Family Locator or
Disney Mobile’s Family Locator) activated so we have some peace of mind while we are gone.
After my wife and I arrive at the airport in our new city we rent a car and we are off on our adventure. By the way, my rental car company, for an extra charge, would have provided me with an
option right in my car that will keep me from getting lost or find just about any service or location I desire but I decided to continue using my cell provider’s service. I forgot the
directions to our hotel so I use my cell phone to get turn-by-turn directions to my hotel (such as Verizon Wireless’ VZ Navigator or AT&T Cingular’s TeleNav GPS Navigator services).
We check into our hotel and are hungry so we check on the nearest Italian restaurant. There are several in the area and we again get turn-by-turn directions to the one we selected. We have a
wonderful dinner and return to our hotel.
Early the next morning we begin to look around the area for a new home. We’ve researched the area well and have a number of homes that we are interested in viewing. On the way to looking at
the first house on our list we drive by a neighborhood that impresses us. We drive into the neighborhood and see a home for sale that is a close match to the profile we’ve setup for our
potential new home. I bring up a service (such as Smarter Agent for mobile LBS triggered real estate searching) and with a click, Smarter Agent obtains
our location and instantly returns information about all the homes for sale around us. I want to be an informed buyer before I inquire about a home so with another click you I get information such
as the last sold price, last sold date, taxes and square feet pertaining to the closest homes sold in the area within the last three years. The house right down the street recently sold and I have
all the information on my phone.
My wife and I call the agent for the house we are interested in and make an appointment to see the home later in the afternoon. We need to wait for about two hours so we use our cell phone to find
a nice deli in the area. We get our turn-by-turn directions, have a wonderful lunch and do a walk-through of the house a bit later. We continue to look around with the real estate agent but have
fallen in love with the first house and make an offer the next morning.
We’ve checked up on our daughters and are feeling great about the potential of living in this new city. We eat breakfast in a little café near our hotel and are off to see the sights
of our new town based on the recommendations of the concierge at the hotel and a cross check with our LBS based locator service.
We take in a movie that evening, which of course we picked by locating a theater near us showing that movie, and the next morning we head back to our current home to await the results of the offer
we placed on our potentially new home.
All is well that ends well. Not necessarily. The downside to having a cell phone double as a navigational device is that you can’t take calls while listening to directions. There are also
implications of this LBS based technology that get a bit sticky. You see the data about my trip’s location and historical movements are owned by the network operator. Who knows what other
organization may have this data. If a government organization is maintaining a massive database of all domestic phone calls it might suggest that a permanent log of the location of all my cell
phone calls may be collected as well. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that.
Will LBS be a killer app that has been talked about for several years? The players will be sorted out over the coming years and the products will succeed or fail based on some critical factors.
Value added to the customer and pricing will be two critical factors in determining the growth of LBS but my vote is leaning toward the ‘yes’ side of the crystal ball. Of course two of
the areas that we’ve talked about in the past in this column line up very nicely with LBS. Convergence and Mobile Advertising based on LBS. Now those are two great subjects for another
Factoid: Data ARPU increases 77 percent
FierceWireless, March 28, 2007: According to a new report from the CTIA, revenues from wireless data services rose to $15.2 billion last year, representing a 77 percent increase over 2005, which
saw $8.6 billion. Data ARPU now makes up 13 percent of all wireless service revenues. CTIA president and CEO Steve Largent noted that the figures build on the FCC’s recent announcement that 59
percent of all new high-speed lines were wireless.
Factoid: Thumbplay’s Top Five
|Glamorous – Fergie||Monoploy||Georgia Tech – Wrambling Wreck|
|Throw Some D’s – Rich Boy||World Series of Poker Texas Holdem||Oregon – Mighty Oregon|
|This Is Why I’m Hot (Chorus) – Mims||Kasparov Chess||UCLA – Sons of Westwood|
|Don’t Matter – Akon||GoodFellas||Marquette – Ring Out Ahoya|
|The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani||Scarface The Rise of Tony Montana||Texas – Texas Fight Song|
March 27, 2007: Fergie’s “Glamorous” jumps from No. 4 to No. 1, taking the spotlight away from Mims’ “This is Why I’m Hot.” Glamorous has quickly become a fan favorite.
If you have a question pertaining to a wireless topic or digital living that you would like to ask or share with our readers send me an email and I will
update everyone in a future column.
Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge:
Following are a few interesting articles, yes some very sports oriented, and discussions on wireless and digital living:
- FireceMobileContent – March 30, 2007
MLB slides into iTunes
With the 2007 season scheduled to begin Sunday, Major League Baseball announced an agreement with Apple to offer highlights via the computing giant’s iTunes digital media storefront. The iTunes
package will include the daily 25-minute “MLB.com Daily Rewind” highlight showcase and two “Games of the Week,” featuring full versions of the best matchups from the National and American
Leagues. Apple will charge $1.99 for each individual episode of “MLB.com Daily Rewind” and “Games of the Week”–a multi-pass “MLB.com Daily Rewind” option is also available at $7.99 per
month, while a season pass for “Games of the Week” will set consumers back $19.99.
“We’re thrilled to be teaming with iTunes to give baseball fans access to MLB highlights via the world’s most popular online TV store,” said MLB Advanced Media senior VP of business
development Kenny Gersh in a prepared statement. “We’re excited that baseball fans now have the opportunity to enjoy America’s favorite pastime in a unique way by taking MLB with them wherever
- FireceMobileContent – March 30, 2007
ESPN Mobile TV kicks off
ESPN announced the program lineup for its new ESPN Mobile TV service, available via V CAST Mobile TV in conjunction wit the sports media giant’s exclusive content partnership with Verizon
Wireless. The 24/7 channel will offer live game and event coverage, sports news and commentary, and realtime scores and updates. Scheduled programming includes the Summer X Games, college
basketball’s NIT championship, IndyCar racing and live college football, including games from power conferences like the Big Ten, Big East and the ACC. ESPN Mobile TV will also feature two
series created for the mobile platform: “ESPN ReSet,” which cherrypicks segments from programming including the FierceMobileContent favorite “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” and
“ScoreCenter,” which mixes and matches content from “SportsCenter” with segments from ESPNews.
- Wireless Week – March 29, 2007 Visa Investing in Mobile
A During a CTIA keynote, Chief Executive John Philip Coghlan of Visa said he sees cell phones as the best way to expand electronic payments. Though wireless transactions are common in Japan,
where shoppers can pay with a wave of the mobile phone, the market is just beginning in the U.S. “I think the mobile device is simply the most promising new form of payment system available
today,” Coghlan said during his CTIA keynote.
Citing a recent Visa survey of 800 people, Coghlan said that about 57 percent of respondents were interested in using cell phones for purchases and 64 percent would consider leaving a wireless
service provider that did not offer mobile payments.
Visa also announced that it has become an investor in Web venture dotMobi, which is promoting use of the Internet suffix .mobi for mobile Web browsing. Coghlan also said Visa was working with
wireless chip developer Qualcomm to bring mobile phone transaction technologies to market. Handset maker Kyocera Wireless also signed on to the Visa mobile payments platform.
Ecrio, a provider of real-time commerce and communications software for mobile phones, announced Visa has become a strategic investor, citing that the funding will help it expand its offerings in
the area of mobile commerce. Ecrio currently is working on patented technology for beaming barcodes from mobile handsets to laser point-of-sale terminals.
Nagesh Challa, Ecrio’s chairman and CEO, said, “The Visa investment adds another marquee name to our list of customers and investors-in this case, one of the world’s most respected brands. We
appreciate the vote of confidence, and can think of no better partner as we make mobile commerce a global reality.”
- FireceMobileContent – March 29, 2007
Westwood One to Launch Mobile Notre Dame College Football Broadcast
smarTVideo™ Technologies, Inc. has announced an exclusive partnership with America’s largest radio network, Westwood One, to launch mobile broadcasts of one of college
football’s most historic franchises, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Company has also reached an exclusive agreement to distribute Westwood One’s “The Dennis Miller
Show” via mobile phones. Both programs will leverage uVuMobile’s™ ground-breaking Mobilecasting™ platform that combines live audio broadcasts with unprecedented
“In sportscasting, as in all of radio, it’s all about creating that ultimate listener experience and Mobilecasting™ takes that experience to the next level,” said Gary
Krantz, Chief Digital Media Officer at Westwood One. “It’s the perfect platform and fits in with our strategy to extend some of our biggest radio programs to the millions of mobile
phone owners in the U.S. and incorporate a level of fan interaction that has never before been accomplished on a mobile phone.”
Westwood One’s Notre Dame College game day broadcasts will launch with a series of interactive features that are proprietary to uVuMobile’s™ MobilecastingTM platform to engage
fans unlike ever before. This includes live Westwood One audio broadcasts of the actual games, visual images and a social networking chat feature. The chat feature provides mobile listeners the
opportunity to post comments, opinions and directly interact with hosts, guests and other listeners. Mobilecasting™ also offers visual and audio advertising opportunities including
pre-rolls, interstitials, banners, sponsorships and interactive advertising.
- FierceIPTV – March 29, 2007
DVR functionality for mobile broadcast TV
While mobile TV technologies like MediaFLO, DVB-H and DMB have rarely entered into the IPTV discussion, the SD Card Association released a report today that found the growth in DVR
functionalities for mobile TV services in Japan running on these technologies will more than double in the next year. The SDA said 5 million Japanese mobile TV viewers, who already have the
ability to record broadcast mobile TV programming with SD High-Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory cards will increase to 12 million mobile TV viewers in 2007. The SDA says currently thirteen handset
models feature SD recording technologies, while 75 percent of mobile phones in Japan have SD slots.
Of course, with time-shifting comes understandable concerns over security, but the SDA says SDHC and SD cards have built-in specs for copy protection rights management (CPRM).
- Unstrung – March 28, 2007
WiMax in the Air
There’s a definite whiff of WiMax in the air down here in the Magic Kingdom.
Major vendors such as Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) are firming up their mobile strategies for the wireless broadband technology. Operator Sprint Nextel
Corp. (NYSE: S) has named more WiMax markets in the U.S. into 2008. Meanwhile, smaller companies such as Tropos Networks Inc. are bringing together WiFi, WiMax, and more, as well as new mesh
Sprint now says it will launch WiMax in 19 cities by April 2008. These markets include Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia,
Providence, Washington DC, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Seattle. The operator’s current WiMax partners — Motorola, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and
Samsung Corp. — will split the deployments between them.
Motorola now says that it has nine contracts for the installation of 802.16e WiMax networks and is taking part in 25 trials with the technology worldwide. The company says that it is especially
seeing mobile WiMax growth in “emerging markets.”
Motorola’s latest trial is with Brazilian operator, TVA, which will conduct a test using mobile WiMax technology in Rio de Janeiro. The operator will use 2.5GHz Motorola infrastructure and
customer equipment to offer to test “mobile TV, video, VOIP, and media streaming services and data applications” and how WiMax performs in Rio.
- FierceMobileContent – March 27, 2007
BMI: Ringtone “novelty phase” fading out
Performing rights organization BMI released its annual projections for U.S. ringtone sales, for the first time forecasting U.S. ringback market projections as well. BMI anticipates the 2007 music
ringtone market will decline to $550 million in retail sales, down $50 million from 2006; the decline should be offset in part by ringbacks, which the organization says will generate
approximately $65 million this year. BMI’s estimates are based on more than 520 million individual ringtone transactions from across more than 325 mobile content retail storefronts.
“We believe that the ringtone market’s growth has leveled off and the novelty phase has ended,” said BMI VP of new media and strategic development Richard Conlon in a prepared statement. “We
envision increased revenue opportunity in the streaming sectors of the mobile entertainment market, ranging from ringtones to audiovisual cellular phone TV-style offerings.”
- FierceDeveloper – March 27, 2007
Gameloft will bring its line of mobile games to the BlackBerry
Gameloft will bring its line of mobile games to the BlackBerry, reports the New York Times. RIM’s consumer-targeted Pearl is selling well, so it makes sense to target the platform for high-end
Java games. The games are expected to cost between $5.99 and $7.99. Incidentally, according to Handango statistics, BlackBerry had the fastest growing content library in 2006.
- Wireless Week – March 26, 2007
PayPal Confirms Test of Mobile Checkout Solution
PayPal is looking to make it even easier to buy things online. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the online-payment company, owned by eBay, said that it plans to launch a new
service this year designed specifically for mobile devices.
- FierceWireless – March 23, 2007
FCC pulls back plans for mobiles on planes
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that the commission is against allowing mobile phones on planes because the networks on the ground probably can’t handle the calls. The FCC has reportedly received
thousands of emails asking for it to make this ruling because allowing flyers to use mobile phones would be annoying, but Martin’s reasoning comes from the wireless industry. Wireless networks
are designed to allow phones to connect to one cell tower at a time, but users on airplanes will connect to multiple towers simultaneous, possibly causing too much traffic for the networks.
- FierceIPTV – March 22, 2007
- IPTV will kill TiVo
Yankee Group analyst Joshua Martin said TiVo will disappear by 2010 because of low-cost (if not free) monthly DVR/PVR rentals offered by operators. Pioneer Online’s Gideon Summerfield agreed:
“The sort of PVR functionality that TiVo introduced to the market, but did not appear to protect intellectual property very well, is becoming a commodity in STBs and TV-attached devices of all
sorts.” Ovum’s Annelise Berendt, however, disagrees: “It’s certainly not a done deal that IPTV will eclipse TiVo sales by 2010. It will be some time before IPTV reaches scale in many
countries. And not all IPTV deployments will be successful.”
- Wireless Week – March 22, 2007
Kissimmee Picks MotoMesh for Muni Network
The City of Kissimmee, Fla., is using Motorola’s HotZone Duo and Mesh Enabled Architecture technology for its municipal wireless network.
- FierceWireless – March 21, 2007
AT&T launches enterprise GPS with TeleNav
GPS applications developer TeleNav and AT&T have inked a deal to provide the carrier’s enterprise subscribers with a hosted, on-demand GPS monitoring solution. TeleNav Track uses GPS to
provide managers with tools to monitor and support remote workers. Features include barcode scanning, location tracking, mileage tracking, wireless time sheets, wireless dispatching, and vocal
turn-by-turn directions. BlackBerry 880 and HP iPAQ hw6920 will be the first handsets to support the service, which costs $12.99 per device. A premium version of the service runs $21.99 per
device, but both require a $19.99 per subscriber setup fee.
The deal is notable because AT&T/Cingular chose not to use GPS for its e911 service, which slowed down its ability to offer a LBS monitoring service like this one for its enterprise
Wireless Info Center:
Looking for a job in wireless? Here are some sites to check out what is available:
Jobs from FierceWireless 03/30/2007:
- Sr. Director of Wireless Devices – Voce, Beverly Hills, CA
- Sales Manager for Mobile Solutions – Dynetic Mobile Solutions, Reston, VA
- Software Developer for Mobile Solutions – Dynetic Mobile Solutions, Reston, VA
- Operations Manager, Mobile Content – Javaground, Irvine, CA
- Small Business Advisor II – Cingular Wireless, Plano, TX
- Retail Sales Consultant – Home Solutions Consultant – Cingular, Plano TX
- Sales Support Representative – Cingular, Plano, TX
- Director of Product Management – Voce, Beverly Hills, CA
- Work at MobiTV. That’s right, get paid to watch TV all day.
- Project Manager II – Ericsson, Plano, TX
- Java Software Engineer – Mobile Messenger, Culver City, CA
Here are some free articles to download:
- The CIO’s Guide to Mobile Applications:
- A guide to determine TCO of wireless networks:
- Making the most of mobile security
- Ziff Davis WebBuyersGuide – Wireless
Here are some upcoming conferences that you might find interesting:
- The PMN Mobile User Experience conference: May 2 – 3, London, UK
- Telematics Detroit 2007: May 22 – 23, Detroit, MI
- Broadband Wireless World at Interop: May 22 – 24, LasVegas, NV
- The 5th Annual Mobile Broadband Congress: May 23 – 24, Olympia, London
Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:
- CTIA 2007: Cream of the crop
- AT&T, Qwest, MCI/Verizon: In. Sprint Nextel: Out
- Microsoft’s New Mobile Browser Deepfish
- BBC Goes Mobile
- MTV Networks has signed Intel and Pepsi as its first advertising sponsors for programs delivered on cell phones
- Why movie trailers are a hit online and on mobile.
- Even with MPEG-4, not enough room for HD?
- Sprint Nextel Expands Cable Venture
- AT&T/Cingular confirms iPhone release date: June 11
- Symantec’s new mobile security
- AT&T takes on the Slingbox
Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas:
- PC World’s Info Center For PDA’s & Cell Phones
- Compare Cell Phone Plans
- Check Carrier Coverage
- Online Wireless Glossary
- Computerworld Mobile & Wireless Knowledge Center
- SearchNetworking.com Wireless LAN Info Center
- Ziff Davis Wireless Supersite
- Nokia Mobility Resource Center
- Wireless Developer Network
- Wi-Fi Planet
- AT&T Wireless Developer Program Web site
- eWeek Mobile and Wireless Center
- Intel – WIMAX Broadband Wireless Access Technology Website
- Looking for a Wi-Fi hot-spot? Use eWEEK.com’s Hot-Spot Finder