February Mobile Monday – Location Based Services

The February meeting of Silicon Valley Mobile Monday is going to be focused on Location Based Services:

  • What: February 2006 Mobile Monday (Location Based Services)
  • When: February 6th, 2006 7:00pm
  • Where: Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee Street, San Francisco, CA
  • Who: Anyone interested in mobility
  • Cost: Nothing!

I’ve been running into a lot of companies either with location based services already out or looking to add some kind of location based component to their offerings. Normally the first question is “what method of getting location information should I be looking at?” In some systems the device itself has a GPS unit built in and is capable of determining it’s own location, in others it relies on the network to deliver information about the location of the unit.

Part of the reason we’re seeing such a surge of location based activity in the US right now is because the targeted date for phase 2 of the enhanced 911 service for wireless was the end of 2005. The second phase required “far more precise location information, within 50 to 300 meters in most cases.” However, for the carriers that’s only half of the equation. Even if they have the ability to deliver location information to emergency services, they want to put some kind of billing around the service in order to provide it to subscribers.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty with respect to what that business model looks like. Is it a charge per use model where the user pays for each and every request their handset makes for location information? Is it an add-on service the user adds for a flat fee independent of the usage patterns? Is it something that gets charged on an application by application basis? The questions there are mostly undecided even on a carrier by carrier basis, forget about the industry as a whole.

So even though the deadline has passed already for the E911 technology being in place, it hasn’t delivered anywhere near the nationwide standard location service that I think some people were hoping for. What should developers count on then when developing location based applications? That’s one of the questions I hope to get answered by fantastic lineup of presenters Greg Isetta from AutoDesk pulled together for the event.

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One Response to February Mobile Monday – Location Based Services

  1. Good topic.

    Location is actually one of the upcoming topics for MoMo Austin…

    About why location seems to be picking up, yes, the answer is related to the e911 mandate, but the reason is finally picking up is because finally, the local APIs are getting exposed to product developers — they have been there for a while but access to them very difficult. And this is important, as “local” method is more cost effective (and accurate) than existing carrier-based MPS systems.


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