It's time to introduce the industry outlook agent. He has been on a mission to find out what is going on in the mobile industry in particular. Here's a first taste of things to come.
The trend for 2008 is clearly,
- Location enabling of existing services
- Designing new vertical services benefiting from location information
- The big push for mobile social networking and community services that really can become enriched by using location information
Years ago, people in the industry talked about location based services and not very much has happened. This year, 2008, it seems like we are finally going to get the needed prerequisites in place for a wider commercial use in 2009. The dominating 2G GSM mobile networks and phones in use around the world were never designed having GPS like satellite navigation and positioning in mind. As a result, later due to emergency phone needs for 911 or 112 services required some kind of support for location information. Several different soluttions have been developed and kind of introduced, measuring time delay of arrival of radio signals from different cellsite towers, triangulation measurements based on radio signal strengths to simple just geo tagging of cellsites. When you are in a dense metro area, the cellsite radius is small enough to locate a user with a reasonable accuracy but in rural areas, just forget about the information, you cannot locate somebody like that. The other systems all require extra equipment to be installed in a radio network something few companies including consumers have been willing to pay for.
In North America, the situation has been different for about 60% of all digital 2G users, using the North American CDMA mobile phone standard which was by Qualcomm designed from the beginning to include GPS receiver capability to enable synchronization from cellsite towers.
As a result North American users have had turn-by-turn navigation services from their phones whereas the rest of the world have had to depend on stand alone GPS devices. The introduction of 3G (North American CDMA-2000 and UMTS/WCDMA) systems have finally resulted in GPS and its newer enhanced cousin assisted GPS to become widely available.
Now the roles can be reversed in favor of WCDMA users. One drawback in using CDMA 2000 devices is that you cannot use voice and data mode at the same time, a live data session gets suspended while you use voice whereas you can have several sessions in WCDMA devices.
The chicken and the egg comment about this is though that mobile operators outside USA charge way too much in most countries for mobile data use, so now when we have finally got to the point where most people can have devices capable of interesting and user friendly location enabled services, many people will not be able to pay for their use.
A big shift is needed for mobile operator companies, more about that to come in a follow up.
Contact Thomas Lidforss International for your business services needs.