Verizon Wireless’ 3rd Party LBS Developer Program (TheZON)

By David H. Williams

Ed. note: This article is the second of a regular series that reviews application developer programs of key players in the LBS eco-system. As LBS360.NET profiles additional developer programs, we will develop a framework for apples-to-apples comparison of multiple programs features and capabilities.

Over the last year or so, Verizon Wireless (VZW) has moved aggressively back into the LBS space with applications like VZ Navigator, Field Force Manager and The Chaperone Family Locator Service. Nearly all of VZW's subscribers' cell phone now have an embedded GPS chip in them, and VZW uses Assisted-GPS as its primary location determination method, backed up by AFLT (Advanced Forward Link Trilateration) network triangulation in poor GPS visibility areas. VZW offers LBS only on BREW handsets.

VZW has implemented a robust LBS 3rd party developer program as part of its broader developer program - TheZON - to help guide developers through VZW's LBS development process. This article provides an overview of their program and process.

Key LBS Application Considerations
In considering applications to deploy on the VZW deck, VZW emphasizes the following:
  • Uniqueness - VZW is not looking to build a portfolio of child locator services, for example. The company does not want application redundancy; it is looking for unique applications to add to the deck
  • User Interface - The company's motto is "Keep It Simple"
  • Business Case - VZW emphasizes "reality" - e.g. what is the real market opportunity? How do you intend to make money? (see related article is this month's issue)
  • Security and Privacy - Ensure all aspects of your solution protect the customer's location privacy - how the application uses, shares, stores, doesn't store, disseminates and manages location information.
Key Partnerships
VZW has three key relationships that developers need to be aware of. First, developers must be part of Qualcomm's developer program, as LBS applications are only offered on BREW handsets. Second, they also must use Autodesk for technical support integration. Third, developers can also take advantage of a mapping data license contract VZW has with NAVTEQ.

Overall Process

VZW LBS process consists of the following six steps:
  • Registration
  • 3rd party/application assessment
  • Review
  • Platform integration
  • Certification
  • Launch/lifecycle management
The following provides key details of the company's process, roles/actions of the parties involved, and key deliverables.

Step 1 - Registration (ZON Submission)
3rd Party Actions
1. Review FAQ landing page
2. Register company
3. Submit application for review
VZW Actions
4. Accept company registration
5. Provision Brew Click Thru licensing agreement
3rd Party Actions
6. Accept Brew Click Thru licensing agreements
7. Provide revenue/subscriber projections by subscription
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Revenue Projections

Step 2 - 3rd Party/Application Assessment
VZW Actions
1. Review application submission
2. Review revenue projections
3. Conduct margin analysis
4. Express level of interest to 3rd party
5. Forward compliance matrix to 3rd party
3rd Party Actions
6. Receive compliance matrix
7. Fill out compliance matrix; forward to VZW
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Compliance Matrix

Step 3 - Review
VZW Actions
1. Review compliance matrix
2. Determine if company/application has protections and processes in place to safeguard subscriber's location privacy
3. Express level of confidence in company
4. Create/forward LBS agreement to 3rd Party, including:
a. Signing LBS agreement
b. Providing additional agreement to Brew Click Thru license agreement
c. Tie Compliance matrix responses to agreement
3rd Party Actions
5. Sign LBS Agreement
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Signed LBS Agreement

Step 4 - Platform Integration
3rd Party Actions
1. Begin Location Proxy Server (LPS) Integration. Note: the LPS manages customer privacy for mobile and network-initiated requests, provides MPC (Mobile Positioning Center) service, contains regularly updated geo-data and Point of Interest (POI) data, and provides core GIS functions (geo-coding, routing, maps, and POI)
2. Meet with Autodesk
3. Receive information on
a. IOT Documentation
b. API Documentation
c. API Extensions
d. Privacy
e. Mapping
4. Provide testing credentials to Autodesk
5. Provision application into LPS test environment
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Application ready for IOT test

Step 5 - Certification
Step 5.1 - IOT (Interoperability Testing) Certification
3rd Party Actions

1. Self test application
2. Complete IOT test plan
3. Send IOT test plan to VZW for review
VZW Actions
4. Pass/Fail IOT test plan (If Pass then)
5. Approve submission of application to NSTL
3rd Party Actions
6. Submit application to NSTL
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Application submitted to NSTL
Step 5.2 - NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) Certification

3rd Party Actions
7. Pass/Fail NSTL test (If pass then)
8. Application submitted to VZW Internal Test
9. Create Price Plan (Daily or monthly subscription only); includes negotiating DAP (Directory Appearance) and checking export compliance
VZW Actions
10. Pull NSTL approved application into VZW Internal Certification Queue
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Application submitted for VZW Internal Test and Legal Review
Step 5.3 - VZW Internal Test & Legal Review Certification
VZW Actions

11. Perform internal test - Application passes or fails (If pass then)
12. Perform legal review of application functionality - check disclaimer/EULA (End-User License Agreement) - If pass then:
13. Provision application on production LPS
14. Provision application on commercial ADS
3rd Party Output/Deliverable: Application ready for Launch, Marketing

Step 6 - Application Launch and Launch/Lifecycle Management
Application is available for download, and enters into Lifecycle Management Phase

Developers can register for the Verizon Wireless 3rd Party Developer Program.

Additional information on the Verizon Wireless' LBS Developer Program is available in this PDF file: getGoing with Verizon Wireless, an LBS Platform: 3rd Party Developer Program and Technical Overview.

LBS360.NET intends to keep close tabs on all key LBS developer programs, with Verizon Wireless' program being the second to be profiled in detail (Autodesk's program was reviewed last month). In the coming months, new and greatly enhanced programs will be rolled out by key industry players, as nearly all of them have made a strategic decision to target LBS developers as a cornerstone to their growth in the LBS market. This is obviously good news for the LBS developer community, but the challenge will be to stay on top of who is offering what in terms of features and capabilities, what are their advantages and disadvantages, and what key factors should developers consider when choosing between competitive offerings. LBS360.NET is committed to providing this critical information to the LBS developer community.

Published Friday, December 29th, 2006

Written by David H. Williams

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