[So far,] the market for what came to be known as Location Based Services (LBS) has only truly taken off in the area of Business-to-Business navigation, fleet and asset tracking – which is thriving and is already a multi-million dollar industry. But the market for other applications, so enthusiastically promoted a few years ago, seems to have stalled. Why?
In the consumer sector, operators simply dont prioritise LBS, preferring to focus on proven revenue streams, like SMS and ringtones. But unless successful applications can be launched, theres a real danger that LBS using operator networks will never happen.
The first LBS applications were technology-led concepts. If we build it, people will use it and pay to use it the thinking goes. This led to flawed concepts like nervous parents tracking children, Find my nearest X and the Starbucks Scenario. Lets briefly look at why these ideas fail.
So, what might work? As usual, the true innovation in this sector is happening outside the operators influence and thats where the clues to future successes might be.
The key seems to be less obvious applications that bring the real world and the digital one closer together to form the seamless new reality.