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Mobile industry groups join forces to accelerate time to market of LBS

The Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) and the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) have entered into an agreement to work together on a program of jointly supported market development activities designed to benefit the IT and telecommunications communities. The agreement is a significant step forward for wireless communications as the worlds of
telecommunications (LIF) and Internet (OGC) join forces in order to address interoperability issues and accelerate time to market of location-based services.

Soon more people will use internet-connected mobile phones to navigate city streets, find the closest restaurant, and obtain real-time traffic information. What enables these useful applications is the behind the scenes software standards for transmitting, manipulating and displaying geospatial information, including the physical location of mobile phones and other
devices. The cooperation between LIF and OGC will bring industry consensus on location-based services standards and ensure “Plug and Play” functionality for subscribers.

LIF members have been working on an open standard interface, called the Mobile Location Protocol, which facilitates the exchange of location information between the mobile network and Internet-based application irrespective of the underlying air interface and positioning methods. LIF members include a mix of mobile phone manufacturers, wireless carriers and infrastructure providers.

Members of the OGC, including commercial software developers, integrators, carriers and IT infrastructure suppliers, tackle a wide variety of interoperability issues in the location application area. OGC’s Open Location Services (OpenLS) Initiative, currently underway, aims to develop
candidate interface specifications in support of interoperable location application services to be made available through mobile terminals and to develop multi-vendor, specification-based mobile demonstrations of these interfaces in action.

The two organizations are considering a variety of ways to share in the growth of interoperability brought about through mobile positioning. Possible projects include the development of mutually supporting technical architectures and testing approaches as well as joint marketing and communications including combined trade show attendance and industry outreach activities. In addition, the two organizations will now be able to share certain information so that the standards process is solidified. OGC and LIF will be making future announcements about specific events and activities including co-sponsoring the OpenLS Forum in June 2002.