Worldwide consumer location-based services (LBS) subscribers and revenue are on pace to double in 2009, according to Gartner, Inc. Despite an expected 4 per cent decrease in mobile device sales, LBS subscribers are forecast to grow from 41.0 million in 2008 to 95.7 million in 2009 while revenue is anticipated to increase from USD 998.3 million in 2008 to USD 2.2 billion in 2009.
Gartner defines LBS as services that use information about the location of mobile devices, derived from cellular networks, Wi-Fi access points or via satellite links to receivers in (or connected to) the handsets themselves. Examples are services that enable friends to find each other, parents to locate their children, mapping and navigation. Location-based services may be offered by mobile network carriers or other providers. They are also known as location-aware services.
Location is an incredibly useful piece of metadata especially when combined with dynamic data from live internet sources. With Location, you can tailor the adverts that someone sees, provide accurate and relevant access to information and even set triggers which will activate as a person changes their location or even their heading. What we’re working with is the addition of context and relevance to presence.
A truly location-aware service needs to tie into my address book, into my appointments schedule and into my instant message and twitter accounts and actively update my status and presence.
I’m sensing we’re on the brink of an important convergence here and location, coupled with augmented reality, has some amazing potential as the market becomes populated with devices that can actively make use of it.