These are some facts to be aware of Location Based Services. Compete, a web search company who has come up with the findings about LBS and their usage among smart phone users. According to survey conducted of 1000 such users:
1. 1 in 3 users uses LBS.
2. Smart phone users who use LBS pay more monthly bill as compared to their counterparts who don’t use LBS.
3. Weather, Navigation & Store location are three most popular LBS.
When recently Tata Indicom announced launch of A-GPS service in collaboration with Qualacomm, they are certainly going beyond mere concept of Location Based Map services. Though the response to the services isn’t known yet, there are some issues involved with A-GPS when it comes to Indoor environment which might prove hindarance to adaptation of A-GPS based LBS.
Recently I had visited the webpage http://skyhookwireless.com. The company is pioneer in providing LBS with its innovative XPS i.e. Hybrid GPS System. As per initial reviews, XPS offers better performances as compared to GPS & A-GPS, both due its innovative approach to LBS. It gathers data from hundreds of Wi-Fi APs, GPS Satellites & thousands of Cell Base Stations to locate users with pinpoint accuracy. Certainly 6 year old company came into limelight after Apple decided to use its core technology in iPhone platform.
There are many caveats which need to be addressed before offering LBS. Gathering sufficient data based on satellite isn’t handy all the time and A-GPS solution isn’t reliable enough in Indoor environment. Also GPS receivers have Cold Boot issue when they are turned on. Though there is rise in number of applications dealing with LBS services on iPhone platform, coming years will certainly add many more in fray as more smart phone users are expected to use these kind of services. But as of now, outlook for LBS in India is grim, with only few takers for these costly services without any notable application in market.
Now coming back to three types of LBS used widely, Indian market surely has potential for all the three services. From farmer’s point of view, knowing about weather in advance will surely going to help him a lot before planting crops or navigation services will help users navigate safely during storms or bad weather which is prevalent is many parts of country. But as said many times, affordability of these kinds of services is big hurdle in their mass adaptation. Cost effectiveness plays major role in subscribing VAS in Indian market.
It is estimated by ABI research that market for LBS by the end of 2013 will be around $13billion, Indian Mobile Operators are surely looking to grab the piece of cake in coming months. With the launch of 3G/WiMAX and rise in smart phone users, certainly there lies potential for LBS to be exploited. But let’s address the need & affordability issues before we hurry up launching of LBS, as practically every LBS technology in market has some nasty issues to think seriously about. But still LBS are going to be major contender for VAS revenues in NGN. Though in US, LBS services based applications are tied up with specific smart phones, in India where we have few Smart phone users yet, Nokia ‘Ovi’ LBS may generate significant revenues for troubled device maker. Also there lies little scope for LBS on existing 2G platforms. So in short we will have to wait a bit longer to see surge in LBS applications mushrooming India market.