LBS - wireless location based services

When I first heard I was going to attend a presentation on Location Based Services it sounded so common place, so every day. As it happened as the presentation progressed an image unravelled in my head that was straight out of a science fiction film. In actual fact it has been here since the beginning of the nineties, it is a part of every policy or control system in computers today.

Year 2000 didn't usher in a new age of space travel as Stanley Kubrick had envisioned however, this year saw the twelve largest telecom companies combining forces to create the LIF (Location Interoperability Forum) This forum initiated for the first time MLP (Mobile Location Protocol) this service would allow any mobile phone, wireless device's application to access information on request about its location and in turn be able to be located through that network.

Towards the end of the decade saw LBS evolve into the creature I saw in the presentation. In essence location based services as I came to know it, is the simple exchange of information between the user, the LBS provider and content provider. I say 'simple' it has taken many years for the technology to be ripe enough to bear fruit. In recent years we have seen the arrival of the smartphones which have so much processing power they rival most home computers or laptops for performance. With all that processing power and self-positioning technologies these solve huge issues that were making LBS a none-viable financial proposition.

Now, Location Based Services will give free to low cost, highly targeted marketing, enabling to collect invaluable amounts of data that could hugely benefit any high street or shopping centre pinpoint strengths or weaknesses in their strategies. Just imagine stepping into your local shopping centre or high street and immediately, as you've already signed up, being told of products of interest, tailor made adverts and incentives for visiting or revisiting those locations, all in real-time. In recent years the media has been awash with the death of high street retail, could LBS contribute to its rebirth?

Location Based Services have now come into maturity and are opening many eyes to the possibilities. The applications are vast not only for navigation, marketing and retail but for the emergency services. Police and security services would be able track devices used in conjunction with criminal activities giving them a clear advantage. Ambulance and Fire Services would be able utilize LBS and spatial information pinpointing callers and cut down response times. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter are already huge trends and that ever growing trend, Mobile Gaming, will also take full advantage.

2014 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for many reasons but the age of LBS is here. Many companies and businesses, large and small will be taking advantage and reaping the rewards of investing in this technology and all it has to offer.