US: Telmap – a location-based service (LBS) provider, firmly believes that 2011 is the year when LBS will go beyond navigation, to serve all of users’ day-to-day needs while out-and-about. Therefore, Telmap has designed its mobile location companion as a centralised platform that serves as a social portal, shopping guide and personal concierge; virtually a meeting place for all things needed for a rich on-the-go experience: Seamless access to your community, razor-sharp local search and content, relevant and timely retail offers, and of course, detailed turn-by-turn instructions that will take users wherever they want to go.
According to Motti Kushnir, Telmap’s Chief Marketing Officer, in 2010 LBS has made a major shift towards becoming mass market services, especially basic navigation. Moreover, Kushnir added it is important to note that at the same time, users are not willing to compromise on the quality of service (maps, timely information, etc.). Hence, LBS prospects for 2011 shift from providing users with great navigation to providing them with an array of location-based services that go beyond navigation.
From Telmap’s perspective, the top 9 trends in LBS to look out for in 2011 include:
1. Location as a constantly-active infrastructure layer – Location has become an infrastructure layer that is constantly active on devices, available to optimise a variety of services and activities that are managed through today’s devices.
2. Social activity on the mobile fully integrates location capabilities and features – Social networking users are now creating, posting and sharing helpful, relevant, real-time user generated content and in many cases, they do so through their familiar web-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, both of which have added location capabilities to their offering during 2010. During 2011 Telmap expects to see a proliferation of services leveraging these added location features, pushing even further users’ awareness and usage of location in their day-to-day mobile activities.
3. Driving and navigation will be enriched with road and driving related information from the local community – Speed cameras, police traps, traffic jams, road closures, road incidents and more, will be shared among community members. This user generated content will be added to data from official, quality content providers and will be used to enrich the officially supplied content as well as to validate it. The mass necessary for this type of combined information to be accurate and efficient will become a reality in many territories during 2011.
4. Tracking is out-Sharing is in – Tracking service (For example: Google Latitude) never reached mass market usage and gained popularity. Telmap believes that is due to the fact that users do not want to be tracked. Hence, LBS companies will need to seek user approval to share location information, in order to maintain users’ trust and sense of control.
5. Ultra local experience –The quality of the day-to-day, local experience is a key success factor for any LBS company. Therefore, Telmap will see more and more ultra local content providers that enable accurate up-to-date search and discovery in users’ immediate vicinity.
6. Cross mobile operators, cross networks cooperation is key – Mobile operators understand the power of location, and its role in optimising end-user experiences. Therefore, Telmap believes that operators will continue to make headway in providing location-capabilities to their subscribers. Therefore, virtual borders will fall during 2011 and LBS will flow across mobile networks, operating systems, devices, social networks, etc. Providers who can serve as a central platform for a meaningful cluster of location-based interactions will become more popular and sought after by operators.
7. Relevant, personal retail offers – 2011 is expected to be a big year for mobile advertising after a lot of experimentation has taken place in recent years, and currently most major brands consider mobile as an integral part of their media channels, driven by the reach and interactivity of smart phones and their constantly-increasing user base.
8. Quality mapping is the basis to all – As many location-based services are now expected for free, we saw in 2010 many providers turn to free, user-generated maps. But quality services require quality map which is costly. Telmaps believes that quality, long-lasting LBS providers will continue to rely in the future on official, quality content providers, combined with a certain level of user-generated content and maps. Cross referencing and verifications between the two sources will be used to guarantee quality level and timeliness of information.
9. LBS landscape is changing – Telmap believes that in 2011, Nokia’s LBS presence in Europe will weaken. The average Nokia user, even after purchasing a smart phone, doesn’t regularly use the added smart phone capabilities, but rather continue to use the basic functionalities of a feature phone. As for Google’s LBS presence, Telmap believes that it will continue to make strides and progress.