Autodesk Location Services Developer Program

By David H. Williams

Ed. note: This article is the first of a regular series that will review the application developer programs of key players in the location-based services industry. The first to be reviewed is Autodeskï¿1⁄2s Location Services Developer Program. As LBS360.NET profiles additional developer programs, we will develop a framework for an "apples-to-apples" comparison of multiple programs, features and capabilities.

Autodesk is a diversified software company that provides targeted solutions for creating, managing and sharing digital assets, including location information. Initially focused on computer-aided design (CAD) software, Autodesk has
in recent years moved aggressively into the LBS marketplace.

The Autodesk Location Services Developer Program provides LBS application developers with tools to build and deploy location-smart wireless services using the Autodesk LocationLogic platform and standards-based APIs. It also provides application developers with an in-depth understanding of carrier networks and business system architectures and offers technical, business and professional services assistance so that developers can focus on creating mobile applications.

These are the areas in which Autodesk believes it provides value to developers.
  • Develop applications quickly - Autodesk provides developers free access to a robust environment and standards-based API, making it easy for developers to rapidly build and customize services for deployment.
  • Tools to build high quality applications - Software Development Kits (SDKs) provide building blocks, sample code and documentation in the development process, and dedicated support services designed to answer both technical and business oriented inquiries.
  • Carrier relationships - Autodesk offers a network of carrier relationships where Autodesk is the trusted advisor for new applications; the Autodesk LocationLogic platform is the same LBS platform deployed with five Tier 1 carriers in North America and Europe.
  • Generous commercial terms - Autodesk believes it provides developer-friendly commercial terms that require no upfront investment from developers for their applications to be deployed with a carrier.
White-label products
Autodesk also offers two white-labeled products: Autodesk Insight, a mobile resource management (MRM) product for small and medium-sized businesses that it white-labels for wireless carriers (e.g., Sprint Nextelï¿1⁄2s Mobile Locator); and Autodesk Family Minder, a family finder service white-labeled for wireless carriers (e.g., Verizon Wirelessï¿1⁄2 Chaperone service). Both of Autodeskï¿1⁄2s applications are built on its Autodesk LocationLogic platform.

Key partnerships

Verizon is Autodeskï¿1⁄2s key partner in the LBS space at this time and an integral player in its overall LBS strategy. Verizon says developers must have an agreement with Autodesk to deploy a LBS application with them. See video from BREW Conference earlier this year. Barry Ross, the LBS 3rd Party Developer Program Manager at Verizon, speaks to the Autodesk partnership at ≈ 17:28 minutes into the video.

For additional information on the Verizon Wireless LBS Developer Program and Autodeskï¿1⁄2s role, please go to pages 15 and 16 of the publicly available presentation - "getGoing with Verizon Wireless, an LBS Platform: 3rd Party Developer Program and Technical Overview." In the platform integration portion of the diagram, the role Autodesk plays in on-boarding LBS applications for Verizon is summarized. Note: LBS360.NET will profile the Verizon Wireless 3rd Party Developer Program in a future issue.

Licensing Model
Through the Autodesk Location Services Developer Program, developers can license a hosted instance of Autodesk LocationLogic when they go commercial. The licensing model is similar to other on-demand software models with a fixed monthly fee and variable fees on either a transaction or per subscriber basis, depending on what makes the most sense for the developer.

Developers can register for the Autodesk Location Services Developer Program on the company's website .

LBS360.NET intends to keep close tabs on all key LBS developer programs, with Autodeskï¿1⁄2s program the first to be profiled in detail. In the coming months, key industry players will roll out new and greatly enhanced programs,,as nearly all of them have made the strategic decision to target LBS developers as a cornerstone to growth in the LBS market. This is obviously good news for the LBS developer community, but the challenge will be staying on top of who is offering what in terms of features and capabilities, what are the advantages and disadvantages, and what key factors developers should consider when choosing between competitive offerings. In the next few months LBS360.NET will be profiling many of these key players, including programs from Verizon, NAVTEQ, deCarta, ESRI and Openwave. LBS360.NET is committed to providing this critical information to the LBS developer community.

Published Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Written by David H. Williams

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