BusinessWeek gets it right and wrong

BusinessWeek Online has an article with a few good anecdotes from the international LBS market, and a couple of major inaccuracies about the US market.

  • “I used to be worried when my boyfriend didn’t answer my calls,” says Shim You Sun, a 25-year-old accountant who pays 11 cents each time she checks up on him. “Now I can rest assured that he is at work or busy attending a seminar.”
  • Send a message with your coordinates to friends and family periodically while you’re traveling.
  • Dispatch a text message to friends who get within a block or so of each other as they move around town
  • For 29 cents a day, send a message if a person isn’t at a specified place at a certain time and then allow the tracker to see the person’s movements over the previous five hours.
  • 20,000 parents pay $10 per month for alerts if their children stray from the route between school and home
  • Mobile LBS services are growing by 74% annually, with revenues expected to triple in 2007, to $1.54 billion, from $500 million last year.
  • In Britain, The Carphone Warehouse offers mapAmobile, a $52-a-year service that lets parents track their cell-toting kids.
  • In Japan, subscribers can sign up for text messages advertising bargains at department stores as they pass by.
  • Hwang Yoon, who runs a call center for 1,500 taxi drivers, uses a service that broadcasts text messages to cabdrivers within a one-, two-, or three-kilometer radius of a fare’s location. The first driver who responds — by pushing a button on the phone — gets the job.
  • Sales of business-related tracking services in Korea are expected to jump more than fivefold this year, to $248 million, from $43 million last year.
  • But they get it completely wrong when they talk about the US:

    In the U.S., a company called Teen Arrive Alive offers parents a $20-a-month tracking service for their teens. But to date the company has sold the service to only one cell-phone carrier, Nextel.

    Meaningless since only one cell phone carrier supports LBS services, Nextel.

    Others are having a tough time, too. Cingular phased out a tracking service offered by AT&T Wireless when the two carriers merged last year. Small wonder: Less than 20% of Americans are willing to pay for such info, says market watcher Jupiter Research.

    I’ve never heard that Cingular phased out LBS b/c it wasn’t desired by consumers, rather AT&T’s former service was phased out b/c the infrastructure was incompatible and the LBS service was only cell-ID accuracy. Cingular is about to find itself far behind its rivals Verizon and Sprint-Nextel with regard to LBS. And the article either misstates the Jupiter report or takes it out of context, b/c every survey I’ve seen from Jupiter and others shows consumers willing to pay for LBS.

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