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Motti Kushnir of Telmap on the Future of Location

The Future of Location is a continual series running here on Mobile Industry Review. This time I’m delighted to be able to feature the thoughts of Motti Kushnir. Motti is Chief Marketing Officer at location based services giant, Telmap. I’ve put a little more about the company at the bottom of Motti’s piece.

Here we go, over to Motti:

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Smartphone shipments continue to increase (forecasted to reach 34% of shipments in Western Europe in 2010 and 57% in 2013 according to Canalys), and bring with them a wealth of new uses for mobile phones, beyond just voice and messaging. GPS chipsets are standard in today’s smart phones (and actually in many feature phones as well) which serves as fertile ground for the proliferation of location-based services (LBS) which are becoming extremely popular with end-users. According to research firm Gartner, in 2009, 96 million people already used location-based services and that number is expected to grow to 526 million by 2012.

We see more and more cases where location is enriching core services such as SMS and voice, allowing people to share locations and direct each other using maps. The next step is for operators to cooperate and reach full LBS interoperability and seamless interaction across networks and operators, both on country and global levels, similar to what has been achieved for SMS and MMS.

Mobile operators are very active in the LBS arena working on creating an advanced mobile location experience for their subscribers through the roll-out of innovative, intuitive, valuable services that appeal to the mass market; high-end device market, as well as lower-end devices where operators plan to later on monetize through advertising.

Mobile operators also invest in providing their users with an ultra local experience. This comes from the realization that one product does not fit all, as different regions and countries get their information from different content providers. Therefore, LBS should deliver on its promise and be truly local, providing up-to-date, accurate information and content.

Location-Based Advertising is still at its infancy but more players are trialing and showcasing location-based advertising capabilities, which is needed in order to supplement traditional-subscription-based revenue streams. These are becoming less popular as users expect to get LBS for free following Google and Nokia’s announcements of free offerings. So far, there are some encouraging results showing that location-based advertising has the potential of becoming extremely popular with both advertisers and consumers, as it’s relevant, targeted, useful and timely.

Facebook, Twitter and several niche social-networking players such as the popular Gowalla and FourSquare are becoming more and more engaged in location-enabled social networking, as can be seen by the popularity of these services on the mobile and the announcements from Facebook and Twitter about integrating location into their services (not to mention the recent Facebook Places announcements). As a result the ability to check-in and tag favorite places as well as share content in a simple and interactive way is now a reality.

In the future, Telmap believes that we are in for smooth communication between our real-time location, up-to-date information about what’s happening in our area and our personal information.  For example, our alarm clock waking us up 15 minutes earlier as traffic on our way to the office is heavier than usual, or our Telmap5 mobile location companion serving us a coupon to a store in the vicinity of our downtown meeting location, offering a $10 discount on diapers, helping us score some points at the home front.

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Thank you for taking the time Motti. Very, very interesting. I really, REALLY want that alarm clock example — right now, Motti. And given the amount I’m spending on diapers (or ‘nappies’, for us Brits) with our 8-month year old, I could also use that coupon!

You can find Motti on Twitter here: mottikushnir

Now then if you need a quick reminder on Telmap, here’s an overview:

Telmap is a world leader in location solutions. The company has established a solid reputation for providing its customers with innovative, value added mapping and navigation solutions that open new business opportunities and generate new revenue streams. Telmap has a unique end-to-end solution including a mobile location companion, a complementary web companion, robust location platform with a set of APIs to support its customers in delivering a strong LBS strategy. The company’s flagship product, Telmap5 is the world’s first personalized location companion integrating innovative and patented technologies including Telmap Active Interface, Telmap Active Search and Telmap Active Widgets.

Some of the big brands using Telmap’s services include Orange FT Group, Vodafone, Vodacom, SFR, o2/Telefonica, SingTel, OPTUS, Cellcom and Pelephone.

If you’d like to participate by having your Future of Location thoughts published, drop me a note.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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