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LBS finding favour

Consumers are just getting over their early, disappointing experiences with Location Based Services (LBS), paving the way for operators and service providers to create new revenue streams, according to analysts.

New research from IDC, carried out in behalf of LBS shop TruePosition and due to be released Wednesday, held some good news for operators. Apparently, the majority of consumers are receptive to advertising sponsored local search services, which could be a significant revenue generator for operators.

IDC said that if service providers can agree a free ad-based usage model, local search is a low hanging LBS fruit. According to the research, 60 per cent of UK and 70 per cent of US users would use such a service, while only a quarter of consumers in each country would consider paying.

Interestingly, a whopping 80 per cent of Spanish users would use an ad-based local search on their mobile, but 40 per cent would also pay for it.

And if local search is easy pickings, the rest of the LBS tree is looking none too bare. At a briefing earlier this week, Brian Varano, senior market analyst at TruePosition, talked telecoms.com through a number of other markets helping to grow the LBS space.

Family monitoring, which is a fluffy way of saying child tracking, is one of them. IDC said that 45 per cent of respondents in its research said they were likely to subscribe to child locator services within the next 12 months. But the requisites are that the service works indoors, as well as outdoors and in moving vehicles, and also offers sub-50 metre accuracy and a sub-15 second response time. It also looks like there are good opportunities in the monitoring of the elderly and the mentally infirm, as well as tracking pets of course.

Varano said that public awareness of location based services is growing rapidly, particularly with the rising acceptance and adoption of GPS-enabled handsets, such as the Nokia N95. Varano admitted that LBS adoption hadn’t been on the hockey stick growth curve predicted by many analysts, but he believes that LBS’ time has finally come.

And one core market is the enterprise space. In this area, IDC discovered that workforce management and fleet tracking services were the most prevalent uses of LBS by businesses, with 74 per cent of respondents highlighting productivity improvements as the main benefit and 68 per cent citing cost savings.

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