LBS World Forum

Been at the Marcus Evans LBS World Forum yesterday and today. Interesting stuff, it’s so rare to have a room full of people all talking about mobile LBS. Here are some take-aways:

  • WiMax is talked about as the holy grail. Apparently, it will cure all problems with mobile connectivity.
  • Rosum‘s TV location capability may be the missing piece in overcoming GPS’s problems in buildings and urban canyons. May be especially relevant for bringing 911 emergency service to VOIP (PCs, laptops, converged devices). Could be used in conjunction with a ‘2-D’ GPS fix to provide the third dimension.
  • The most common abuse of family/friend finder applications is the wife tracker. Many humorous anecdotes.
  • Use of cell phone location fix in web world is very interesting. Get the user’s cell phone location from the carrier and pre-populate their location when they do a local web search. Hard to believe Google isn’t all over this one.
  • To be truly useful, we’ll need standards and collaboration by carriers, content providers, and developers around location sharing. Especially with regard to privacy. This goes beyond the stuff the OMA is working on.
  • GPS can be spoofed…and the Iraqi insurgency has discovered how to impact smart-bomb accuracy.
  • Near-term revenue for LBS will be on the commercial side (fleet tracking, etc). Companies can afford to spend on it, and they don’t face the same barriers of privacy. Consumer mass adoption will happen a few years out, but it will be huge!
  • Consumer privacy issues are just beginning to make themselves known. For example, if someone adds an extra phone line to their wireless plan, and gives it to a friend, do they have rights to know their location at all times? The only unambiguous thing about location privacy is that the government with a warrant can get anything they want.

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