At CTIA this year, a special panel session was convened to address a question the companies looking to help deploy a location-based service have been asking themselves for a while: When will the time be now?
Derek Kerton, Principal of The Kerton Group moderated the panel that hosted representatives from several sectors of LBS.Here is a synopsis of each person's comments:
Tim Lorello, senior vice president of TeleCommunications Systems (TCS) presented his reasons why he believes the time is now.He thinks that too many applications are now requiring a precise location.Even those where precision is not required, user expectations result in disappointment if it is not.He also believes that the high speed infrastructure is in place and that commercial applications must follow solid 911 performance guidelines.
Joe Astroth, vice president of Autodesk Location Services said that the value chain has consolidated and more companies are collaborating. "There was never any 'killer app', Astroth said.He believes that the key now will be to "location-enable" the existing applications like short messaging, directory assistance, roadside assistance, and traffic information that are already being purchased by consumers.
Jason Devitt, CEO and Founder of Vindigo said that, "all of the infrastructure is in place; all of the applications are ready.There is a tremendous appetite for services like this." He said that with the exception of Nextel, no carrier has put all of the pieces together but that "the time is this year."
Rob Consolazio, Senior Director of Nextel said that his company already has over 30 part partners for location applications such as @road, Autodesk, Cloudberry, UPS Logistics AirClic Mapquest, Trimble, Corrigo, Descartes Datatrac, aligo, Televigation, Gearworks and others.Nextel is actively marketing services and saw the opportunity over two years ago.The challenge for carriers is to know when to get out of the way. Nextel announced a new partnership with AOL Mobile that will jointly market the MapQuest "Find Me" application over the Nextel network. Consolazio said "the key is simplification."
Jocelyn Vigreux, president of TomTom said that, "It's a good time to ask ourselves this questions.We are finally hitting the convergence point.The price point is acceptable to enter the mass market."