In this new mobile world, it is all about location, location, location. Customers want mobile operators to support the complete range of available location-based services (LBS) applications including; personal navigation, fleet tracking, friend finder, social networking, weather feeds, news updates and more. Until now, supporting the various applications across the network was an expensive proposition available only to the largest operators. It involved multiple location node types scattered across the network — purchased, managed and maintained independently. But the challenges of location awareness — whether market- driven or mandated — are not limited to the largest networks. The solutions shouldn't be, either.
It is important to note that the market for LBS is forecasted to grow rapidly over the next four years. Driven by an increasing number of location-enabled applications and devices, the number of location-enabled subscribers will expand through 2017 at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent (ABI Research). ABI Research analysts expect worldwide LBS revenue to increase 92 percent by 2017 (Figure 1)
It is also important to understand the financial trends. Among wireless subscribers, 332 million used LBS solutions in 2011 and ABI Research experts expect that number to increase to nearly 2.2 billion by 2017. ABI Research thinks most of the international growth will come from countries in the Asia- Pacific region, notably India and China. It appears that the region’s subscriber numbers will grow from 1 billion in 2011 to over 2 billion in 2017, meaning that the Asia-Pacific region will contribute half of the world’s wireless subscribers. LBS revenues for this region, which were in third place behind North America and Western Europe in 2009, have now surpassed Western Europe and will nearly equal North America by 2017 (Figure 2).
Business Benefits to Mobile Operators with LBS and Applications
LBS applications draw in consumers, drive revenue, increase customer loyalty, and decrease churn. LBS applications range from simple (passive) push services, such as weather and traffic alerts, to more complex and interactive services, such as personal safety/emergency services, family locator, and workforce/asset locator applications. These advanced applications, which generally require network-based location determination provided by the mobile operator, also tend to be the applications that drive the highest value-added service revenue and data-centric revenue. Trends indicate that many consumers who use LBS sign up for more than one location application. Offering real-time LBS content improves customer satisfaction which in turn increases customer retention and average revenue per user (ARPU).
In order to support the expanding location requirements, operators need to enable their networks to deliver user-specific services to maximize their market participation and at the heart of any location-enabled network is the ability to seamlessly coordinate all location requests across the network. With the right LBS solution, operators can easily location-enable their networks, location-enable their users, and ensure nobody gets lost along the way.
LBS Today and Tomorrow
The convergence of LBS-enabled search and messaging, mobile advertising and social networking, and powerful new smartphones is changing the way people use their mobile devices and interact with others. These changes will enable unique and differentiated services that will drive mobile operators’ growth and value in the years ahead.
Mobile operators will need flexible, scalable, and secure solutions that allow them to rapidly deliver products to market, creating a distinct competitive advantage while achieving greater revenue.
Cellfind (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of the JSE listed group, Blue Label Telecom, is a leading mobile technology solutions company that provides tailored Location-based services, Aggregation solutions, Mobile Applications and Value Added Services to a wide range of clients in Southern Africa.
Cellfind draws on a strong base of technical skills and locally-owned intellectual property to create innovative mobile solutions to a wide range of industries including the Financial services, Medical, Media, and Telecommunications industries.
The company’s solutions include amongst others SMS and MMS based solutions, USSD application solutions, WAP and Mobile Applications, Location-based solutions (Information, Traffic and Routing, Emergency response, Tracking) and Mobile payment solutions. These solutions assist organisations in communicating cost-effectively and efficiently with their employees, customers and other stakeholders, while creating either direct cost savings and/or revenue generative opportunities for our customers.
Cellfind, a founding member of the Wireless Application Service Provider Association and Accredited Service Provider for Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, continues to invest in world-class technology that enables easy and cost effective access to our partners, allowing us to continuously shape the landscape in the Southern African market.
For more info visit www.cellfind.co.za
About TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.
Ranked No. 1 in the world for precise location, our comprehensive LBS portfolio, TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. provides one solution with all the power and versatility needed to location-enable any network and make location a key part of any network’s value proposition. We bring together all of the components needed to locate any user across any type of network and deliver that location to user devices, location-based applications, emergency responders, and public safety services and agencies. Our complete end-to-end LBS solution includes hardware and software to support 2G, 3G and LTE networks. TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. has 12 years of LBS experience to help mobile operators reduce time to market and implementation costs.
For more info visit www.telecomsys.com
Meet Cellfind and TeleCommunication Systems at AfricaCom, 12-14 November at Cape Town, Booth B10C.