Will Business Use Of GPS And Location Services Go Vertical Next Year? - InformationWeek

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12/12/2007
04:56 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Will Business Use Of GPS And Location Services Go Vertical Next Year?

Location and GPS seem to be on everyone's minds these days. Seeing as it's the end of the year, it's time to break out the crystal ball and see what lies ahead. Where will GPS and location services go in 2008? Will the market for these mobile technologies fragment into vertically specific applications or will there be one set of horizontal mobile GPS apps?

Location and GPS seem to be on everyone's minds these days. Seeing as it's the end of the year, it's time to break out the crystal ball and see what lies ahead. Where will GPS and location services go in 2008? Will the market for these mobile technologies fragment into vertically specific applications or will there be one set of horizontal mobile GPS apps?I recently sat down with Sal Dhanani, co-founder and senior director of marketing at TeleNav, to get another take on the future of location services.

Over The Air (OTA): Hello Sal, welcome to Take 5 on Over The Air. First, why don't you tell us a little bit about TeleNav and its position in the mobile location market?

Sal Dhanani (SD): TeleNav was the first company to launch a GPS navigation system on mobile phones for the U.S. market in 2003. TeleNav currently has 14 carrier partners in 21 countries, across four continents. The company's products are compatible with most mobile platforms and on more than 200 devices. Our first product, TeleNav GPS Navigator, is the first mobile navigation application to include 3-D maps; voice-activated, turn-by-turn instructions; social networking; one-click traffic rerouting; cheapest gas price finder; and local search, all-in-one. The other, TeleNav Track, is a mobile resource management system that allows enterprises to better manage their fleet, track inventory and job status, receive GPS directions, and receive real-time fleet location updates.

OTA: Where do you see GPS and location-based services moving in 2008?

SD: 2008 will be a growth year for LBS. Location services are a proven set of technologies that carriers can generate revenue with so, as a consequence, I think we will see more awareness from the carriers. This combined with higher GPS handset penetration will fuel growth. We'll also see more applications like social networking and lifestyle LBS come out next year, and perhaps we'll also see LBS-based advertising.

OTA: Will we see an explosion of non-GPS LBS? Those location services that do not rely on satellites but use cell towers instead?

SD: Cell tower location will work for services that don't require high accuracy -- although the same services would be much better with GPS. Finding a business 'nearby,' getting a map of the general area, SMSing 'rough' locations to someone are all useful with cell tower location. However, depending on cell tower location technology can be very taxing on the cellular network. Cellular technologies like AFLT and E-OTD are more accurate but network heavy, so we may see limited use of these. Cell sector, however, is lighter on the network but not nearly as accurate.

OTA: What do you make of Google's new non-GPS location feature, My Location, on Google Maps for mobile?

SD: It's very cool. Google has done it again. Fairly well executed. The 'My Location' service is fine for users who are simply looking for basic location information and business listings -- but it is very different from traditional LBS services like Navigation and even LBS local search -- which give precise information. For people who want traditional GPS, 'My Location' won't cut it.

OTA: What new business apps will we see in 2008 that utilize location?

SD: So far, LBS business apps have been horizontal, meaning one size fits all. In 2008, we'll see the beginnings of tailored LBS apps for verticals and also highly customized apps for enterprise accounts.

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