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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Location Based Services Poised to Lead the VAS

Jayakishore Bayadi
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Jayakishore Bayadi
Gone are the days when the only option to reach your destination was by asking a stranger on the way for directions or letting the notorious taxi or auto drivers take you for a ride, literally. Enter the world of location based services (LBS), where finding your way is a child's play, and it's a lot of fun using it too. Once an exclusivity of the developed world, LBS is now increasingly becoming commonplace in emerging geographies like India.

LBS is poised to take up the next lead in the growth of value added services (VAS) on mobiles, opine industry pundits. In fact, LBS is not a new thing. It's been around for more than 10 years, especially in the American and Far Eastern markets. There used to be a running joke in the U.S. and Japan that every year is 'Year of LBS', which didn't materialize. However, after 2007 things started changing and 2008 was a very great year for LBS as worldwide LBS revenue crossed a billion dollar mark.

Karthee Madasamy, Sr. Investment Manager, Qualcomm Ventures, defines LBS saying, "Location is really about bringing context to content and LBS are those services that are enabled with locational identity." So, what kind of services the consumers can expect from LBS? Well, only imagination is the limitation. However, LBS may include point-of-interest and navigation assistance, gaming, location based information services, personal security, asset and fleet tracking, business transaction with location information, apart from peer-to-peer networking.

Market Dynamics
LBS is one of the quickest growing segments nowadays. Globally, the LBS market is predicted to grow to a 13 billion-dollar industry by 2012. With more than 300 million mobile users, LBS is expected to see a huge growth in India, which could be a huge market. Even though it is a new entrant in the Indian market, the country is one of the fastest growing LBS markets. "The Indian market was about $22 million in 2007 and is expected to cross $500 million in next five years," says Sujit Kumar, Director, CL Infotech.

Some major global players in the area include Trimble, Leica Geosystems, SiRF, CSI Wireless, and Navteq (now acquired by Nokia). "The main drivers of this growth would be the logistics vertical, which will heavily use Global Positioning System (GPS) for tracking. Apart from that, individual consumers and car navigation systems are also supposed to drive the market in terms of revenue," opines Rohan Verma, Director, MapmyIndia.

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