Directions Magazine (DM): Please be very specific about the location based applications that AT&T and LOC-AID are envisioning. Are the mobile resource management apps described in the press release strictly related to apps delivered on the handset? What might those apps be?
David Allen (DA): Enterprise developers can now use network-based location data to enable solutions like fraud prevention, mobile marketing, authentication, mobile analytics and asset tracking in a number of vertical industries such as financial services, retail, machine-to-machine, healthcare, entertainment, IT security, education, ecommerce, government, manufacturing, and travel and hospitality.
DM: Will you deliver a portfolio of integrated apps?
DA: LOC-AID does not build the mobile apps. LOC-AID provides location data of devices to power the mobile apps with location information. We enable mobile app developers.
DM: Since LOC-AID is offering its platform, Location Xchange Gateway, will the API be available only to AT&T developers or will LOC-AID/AT&T open its platform to others as well? Is AT&T offering an “app store” for mobile resource management?
DA: The API(s) are made available to all developers / enterprise. With cross carrier access, the broad appeal of multi carrier location data is a key requirement for the large enterprise community. This is not just about offering apps. This is about enabling any location-based mobile services environment. For example, if the application runs on a cell phone and needs location data of the user, they would come to us. Because we provide network-based location information, the phone does not need to be a smartphone. Location-based apps can now run on any phone - smartphone or feature phone.
DM: One of the solutions mentioned in the press release was customer relationship management (CRM). Are you intending to compete with Salesforce.com?
DA: No. Enterprises with CRM apps that require location data will be, and are, our customers'. Today, CRM services are limited to smartphones with autonomous GPS capabilities. LOC-AID can enable CRM solution providers to address a much broader market by accessing smartphones (with or without GPS location capabilities built in), feature phones, laptops, iPads, USB data sticks and a host of other M2M devices.
DM: The most hyped applications are in location-based advertising and MRM is not sexy but it may offer more immediate ROI. Where's the greater opportunity?
DA: Both location-based advertising (LBA) and MRM, along with the other verticals identified in your first two questions all offer immediate opportunity. The existing paradigm for LBS is that end users must discover a service (MRM, navigation, family finder, social networking, etc.) and download an application to their smartphone.
LOC-AID is enabling an entirely new class of location services that are enterprise driven and based upon the following premises and strengths:
- Location is obtained from the network, not from the handset. This eliminates any handset dependencies or device type dependencies in order to secure a mobile location.
- No application software, no “thin client,” no software download is required to enable a mobile to be locatable.
- 100% of a carrier's subscriber base is addressable and locatable, given that the end user opts-in to the prescribed service.
- Smartphones, feature phones, USB data sticks, M2M devices, modem cards, etc. are location enabled.
- A-GPS, Cell ID and Enhanced Cell ID are all available for the enterprise to help perform the right location for the right service.
LOC-AID is agnostic to the device type, location accuracy and location service that are being offered. Unlike other companies in the location space, LOC-AID has made a business decision NOT to enter the application market to ensure that we do not compete with our customers' offerings. We build a level of trust with our customers to ensure they can get to market quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively without concern that we would compete for their business.
DM: What is the vision for the deliverable for MRM? Is this a single handset that includes scheduling and routing applications, location-enabled SMS, navigation and more?
DA: LOC-AID does not specifically offer an MRM solution. LOC-AID does offer the mobile location of any device in support of MRM developers who, up until this point have been restricted to MRM software application downloads restricted to a few smartphones with autonomous GPS capabilities. By providing a network based, cross carrier location capability, MRM developers can provide solutions to any device, with or without GPS, independent of make, model or even O/S.