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Research firm conducts SWOT analysis of key LBS players

US: Falling barriers to the adoption of location-based services (LBS) in emerging markets, combined with momentum behind indoor LBS and mobile advertising, are set to fuel future growth in mobile LBS according to the latest research report published by Strategy Analytics.

The report estimates that falling price points for GPS enabled handsets coupled with rising mobile data adoption will boost LBS adoption and use. Furthermore, increasing activity around indoor maps and accurate indoor positioning technology via low-energy Bluetooth beacon technology and WiFi will enable the rise of indoor LBS, including proximity marketing on mobile devices.

The adoption of mobile location based services such as maps and in-car navigation has been widespread in countries with both high smartphone and data plan adoption, and will spread to countries like India and China, where smartphone ownership and data plan adoption is rising fast.

Nitesh Patel, Director of Wireless Media Strategies at Strategy Analytics, noted, “We see the increasing activity around indoor location and mobile marketing by brands, retailers, and owners of complex venues as a clear signal that indoor LBS and location-enhanced marketing will drive the next wave of growth in the mobile LBS sector.” The report also assesses the strengths and weaknesses of key LBS players, Apple, Google, HERE, and TomTom, across a variety of important metrics, including map and navigation coverage, indoor venue capabilities, OS reach, in-vehicle connectivity, offline usage, local search and crowd sourcing.

David MacQueen, Director of Media and Apps at Strategy Analytics, in fact said that HERE is the overall leader in terms of its mapping and location capabilities, followed by Google, TomTom and then Apple. “HERE’s opportunity for growth have improved significantly with its horizontal strategy, following the sale of Nokia's devices and service unit to Microsoft. However, Google is the leader in business to-consumer (B2C) LBS applications, as it benefits from preloading on most Android handsets, and is the most widely used map, navigation and local search app. Apple remains in catch-up mode, although its high smartphone market share and acquisitions to enhance its LBS capabilities, such as Locationary, WiFiSlam, Embark and BroadMap, keep it a major player.”

Source: Strategy Analytics