I sat down with Joe Astroth to confirm what I heard last year at CTIA. "We're laser focused on the carriers," said Dr.Astroth, and indeed ratifying their continued push into the cellular phone operators with Autodesk's Mobile Resource Manager solution for enterprise applications and based on the Autodesk LocationLogic platform.LocationLogic 6 was announced at the show where the added functionality includes more privacy management controls.To understand the applications Autodesk is delivering, you need to understand the business model.First, Autodesk has a transaction-based model so that every time a request is made to the location server, a transaction is recorded and a fee applied.This is similar to many other models used for example by Microsoft's MapPoint web service.Second, Autodesk offers to share the risk of deploying an LBS application with the carrier by offering to start with a small number of transactions.But it is also focused on a very narrow application niche in field service management for small companies that deploy 5 to 100 vehicles, but where the "sweet spot" is actually about 40-50 vehicles.The carriers want more minutes on their network and so Autodesk and its partners (TruePosition, Agilent, BEA, Oracle, and others) offer a "white label" or carrier-branded solution whereby the location-based service is just a function of the minutes used by truck drivers using their GPS equipped cell phone to broadcast position to a dispatcher who watches the fleet via a map interface.The additional charge per month may be as low as $15.Autodesk has yet to penetrate the U.S.market but is gaining traction with customers such as Telecom Italia and another large European operator is to be announced soon.
Jason Angelides, Director of Marketing, TruePosition
Where Autodesk provides a "Mobile Resource Manager (MRM)," TruePosition provides a Managed Location Service (MLS).Here's the difference according to Mr.Angelides: TruePosition provides an expansion of the core location products needed by the carriers in terms of rectifying a location based on the network infrastructure.TruePosition will determine location either by assisted GPS, Time Delay of Arrival (TDOA), or Enhanced cell identification (E-CID).The "bundled" solution that TruePosition is promoting is called TrueNorthTM and it strives to eliminate some of the hassles often identified with location-based services, such as the latency of the service, quality of service and the applications with a clear ROI.The partners that TruePosition brings to the table to provide this solution will sound familiar: Autodesk, Agilent, E and others.Collaborating seems to allow both Autodesk and TruePosition to offer one part of the LBS value chain that carriers wish to avoid.The "watch phrase" seems to be: Bring the carriers solutions, and they will be glad to let you take the risks. But Angelides believes the demand is there and says that the carriers will join with them to offers services where customers see real value: protecting possessions and safety, navigation, convenience ('find the nearest'), and asset tracking.
Winston Guillory, Senior Vice President, Sales North America, NAVTEQ
I spent some brief minutes with Winston Guillory of NAVTEQ.Mr. Guillory has worked to established NAVTEQ's LBS Challenge the last few years and this year it drew approximately 150 people to the reception at the announcement of the winners.Last year, the crowd was perhaps half the size observed this year.Mr.Guillory was clearly pleased at the results given that over 180 entries were received this year. Guillory commented that that figure could likely double next year.He also said that Nextel's leadership position in LBS is driving familiarity, awareness, and uptake in the market and expects new technologies in wireless broadband, voice activation, and dynamic data to spur more interest."NAVTEQ's goal is to drive the market," said Guillory.