Location Based Services Ecosystem | The big picture

I have been following the Location Based Services Industry for the last couple of months and something missing from my different interactions with industry players and analysts was “The big picture”. Every new player wants to be so special and different that they forget the need to be attached to an ecosystem to make the model viable for everyone.

I start my blog post with this question : What is really the LBS (Location Based Services) Ecosystem and what is the big picture?

Location Based Ecosystem Infographic

Location Based Ecosystem Infographic

1| Geo-Data or Geoinformation

“Geoinformation is the abbreviation for geographic information. Geographic information is created by manipulating geographic (or spatial) data (generally known by the abbreviation geodata) in a computerized system. Systems can include computers and networks, standards and protocols for data use and exchange between users within a range of different applications.” Find more information @ wikipedia

Without Geo-information (listings, phone numbers, reviews..etc), the interaction is impossible. This input is the most important one, and it represents the raw data for any LBS app.

In Canada, the biggest and most accurate database is the one managed by Yellow Pages Group. It’s an open platform called YellowApi.com where any developer can access to.

Simplegeo, factual and Quova.com are strong players to consider if you are looking to dig into this world. Unfortunately, they don’t have access to Canadian data as Yellowapi.com does.

If you want to learn more about it, here’s also a blog post about location data:Hoping Location Data Becomes an Open Commodity

2| Location based business rules (geofencing)

“A Geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. A geofence could be dynamically generated – as in a radius around a store or point location – or a geofence can be a predefined set of boundaries – like school attendance zones or neighborhood boundaries. Custom-digitized geofences are also in use. When the location-aware device of a location-based service (LBS) user enters or exits a geo-fence, the device receives a generated notification. This notification might contain information about the location of the device. The geofence notice might be sent to a mobile telephone or an email account. Geofencing, used with child location services, can notify parents when a child leaves a designated area.” (Wikipedia)

3 types of geo-fencing (set-up boundaries and alerts):

  • Define an interaction with an object / product
  • Define an interaction with an area / zone
  • Define an interaction when two persons or objects are in the same area

To discover more about geofencing, Visit WaveMarket Website @ Locationlabs.com

3| Interactions layers / Declare your presence

Now it’s time to interact with a Location, User and a product or service. One of those elements is Cheking-In or Social Check-in.

Interactions Layers / Declare your Presence“Many social networking services, such as Foursquare, Facebook, Gowalla, and Brightkiteallow users to “check in” to a physical place and share their location with their friends. Users can check in to a specific location by text messaging or by using a mobile application on a smartphone–the application will use the phone’s GPS to find the current location.Many applications have a “Places” button or tab where a user can see a list of nearby places into which the user can check in. If a location is not on the nearby places list, the user can add the location directly from the phone. Once a user has checked in, they have the option of sharing their location with friends in services such as Twitter or Facebook” (Wikipedia).

4| Rewards & loyalty programs

Rewards & Loyalty ProgramsLoyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal buying behavior, in the LBS world.TopGuest.com and Shopkick models are really introducing an important feature in the mix to maximize the users add value.

More to read here about Pepsi-Co experience : Pepsi rolls out multifaceted LBS mobile loyalty initiatives

5| Location Based Analytics

How can we talk about location based marketing and enhance performance without having a strategy and tools to follow performance per location?

For more information on the LBS analytics tools, read this article 5 Location Based Analytics Tools

6| Transaction (NFC Chip)

TransactionTransactions : The most promising elements where other industries like banks and credit cards needs to jump-in. This new layer is now available because of the NFC chips that Google announced in the Gingerbread Phones.

“Near field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC communication always involves an initiator and a target: the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is also possible, where both devices are powered” (Wikipedia).

A Day in a life of an NFC mobile phone user

Extra read here NFC FORUM Website