Disney Mobile Selects Autodesk’s LocationLogic LBS Platform: It’s Not Magic

By Joe Francica

Disney Mobile Selects Autodesk Location Services _Disney's "magic kingdom" of theme parks, movies, and merchandising will soon expand into telecommunications and use location technology as one of its key business drivers. Disney Mobile has selected Autodesk to be their LBS partner to enable its new suite of cellular services with location-enabled applications. Disney Mobile will launch its services in June 2006. A division of Disney Internet, the company will operate as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and will be leasing a frequency spectrum from Sprint (CDMA 1xEVDO). For Disney, its services may be more aptly referred to as a "lifestyle" MVNO since its applications will target "family communication" as its niche demographic market.

When launched, Disney Mobile will offer four primary services:

** A Family Monitor that lets parents set usage allowances for spending and content.
** A Family Alert that lets family members send an unlimited amount of text messages to one or multiple family members.
** Call Control which restricts usage by time limit and by time of day.
** Family Locator which provides parents with the means to locate each family member without calling.

The Family Locator application provided by Autodesk Location Services is a GPS user plane implementation and includes most of the features of the LocationLogic platform including privacy and authentication, authorization, geocoding and and other geoservices. Tele Atlas is Autodesk's partner is providing base map content and points of interest data. Disney Mobile will offer a fully capable phone, not simply a limited calling device as do some providers like Wherify.

Joe Astroth, Autodesk Location Services vice president and general manager, said, "Disney has taken a bold step of preloading a compelling LBS application on every phone." Astroth mentioned that when Disney first identified the services it wanted to offer, a location-based application was a core component. "Every handset and service contract will have Family Locator. They may be the first MVNO in the world where every service that they sell has location-based service pre-loaded." Astroth also said that while a geofencing application for location-based alerts will not be one of the initial features, Disney will be evaluating a number of future elements to their LBS offering.

Disney Mobile seems to have identified one of the "pain points" of consumers: increasing family communication. People want to know the location of family members at a moments notice, whether it is for an emergency situation or just for "peace of mind."

Published Friday, July 21st, 2006

Written by Joe Francica

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