World News: LBS industry survey predicts nav and local search as future winners

World News: LBS industry survey predicts nav and local search as future winners

The survey builds on a previous LBS industry survey conducted in April 2006.

One set of questions addressed mobile operators and one set was directed towards other industry professionals, for instance equipment vendors, service providers, application developers and content providers. In total, 267 respondents completed the survey.

Virtually all the operators that responded had deployed at least one LBS service. The most common type, deployed by 45% of the respondents, was location-enhanced information services, such as traffic or weather information, closely followed by local search.

More than one third of the LBS operators also provide resource tracking services, like asset tracking and workforce management. One third of the operators market mapping and routing services, and roughly 30% offer turn-by-turn navigation services. These results are broadly in line with the results of the 2006 survey.

Over the years, numerous location services have been launched by operators with varying success. Among the current services, operators rank resource tracking as the most successful service category, followed by turn-by-turn navigation and information services.

Interestingly, many of the operators that have deployed friend-finder services have achieved success, while none of the operators that provide location-enhanced entertainment and games rank these among the top three most successful services.

Operators predict that navigation and mapping services will become the most successful services in three years time, slightly ahead of local search and information services, as well as resource tracking services.

In contrast, non-operator respondents predict that local search and information services will be the most successful services in three years time, ahead of turn-by-turn navigation services.

Non-operators rank community services as the third most successful service category in three years time, while operator respondents rank them as the fourth most successful. In both cases, the category's ranking is a sharp increase from the eighth position today. This result is perhaps not surprising, considering the recent success of community services on the Internet in general.

The last question for the operator representatives regarded the importance of several factors for the growth of the LBS market. 90% of operator respondents considered more collaboration between operators and vendors to be important or very important. O ther factors deemed most important include more marketing of services and more innovative LBS offerings.

Compared to the previous survey, an E112 mandate or similar regulation is considered relatively less important today.

Non-operator LBS professionals consider flat-rate data plans to be the most important factor for the growth of the LBS market, followed closely by handsets with built in GPS/Galileo receivers. More innovative services is ranked third, while more collaboration between operators and vendors is ranked fourth.

LBS professionals believe that most LBS application developers and service providers will market their services directly towards end users, bypassing operators. 70% of the respondents consider that the direct to end user marketing will be the most used channel in three years time.

Author: André Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight

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