Location-Based Services (LBS) typically are information based or entertainment providing services, accessible with mobile devices like smart phones, web-enabled phones, PDAs, Notepads and Palmtops through the services of a telecom network provider. Typically these services utilize the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device. These services are getting immensely popular as a tool for services marketing for B2C focused businesses.

For example, you are at location X. You suddenly need servicing for your car or gas. Also you are hungry. With Location Based Services enabled on your mobile device, you can be guided to the closest place at the time of your need to the junction that can service your needs in the best possible way. It may be a Gas Station with a food joint.

This is not all. Location Based Services have a very high potential for cross-selling and upselling new services and lower cost of customer acquisition. Intimation of location specific services may be offered to potential customers, and conversion of leads to sales may be extremely high, in certain services. For example, close to a highway, if a joint is present that provides refreshments, and the travelers are intimated of the same during a journey about the same, this may rake in huge benefits.

With the increasing popularity of cloud computing in the era of information technology enabled services (more often internet enabled services), Location Based services are one of the more promising services technology majors are focusing on, due to it extremely high potential revenue generating future. Started first by the 3 majors in 2000, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia,Location Based Services and the research on the service science on the domain has never looked back. The first major full-scale commercial Location Based Service was launched by DoCoMo in Japan , based on triangulation for pre-GPS handsets in 2001. Services like Friendfinder, Yellow pages, houseposition, emergency call location etc. were the first few services that harnessed enormous acceptance from its targeted consumer base across geographies.

Today technology majors like IBM have their own extensive solution for work-force management, that uses platforms for location based management systems. The recent acquisition of GoWalla by Facebook is another such indication that even Social Media majors are considering potential revenue from advertisements from such services. The potential profitability of such services are encouraging the trend, and as more and more focus is increased on the Cloud Computing, these services are bound to be a major revenue earner for technology giants, and can be a crucial ace for the players in the IT services and IT enabled services industry.

Barriers to adoption: Lack of GPS in mobile phones, Accuracy of devices, The cost–benefit justification, Limited network bandwidth, Invasion of privacy

Positioning Components

  • Network-based positioning (NBS): Relies on base stations to find the location of a mobile device sending a signal or sensed by the network
  • Terminal-based positioning (TBS): Calculating the location of a mobile device from signals sent by the device to base stations
  • Global positioning system (GPS): A worldwide satellite-based tracking system that enables users to determine their position anywhere on earth

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.