The development potential of LBS

I liked the article’s overview of LBS – it it consists of, how it’s different from a regular GIS, and what kind of data analysis can be done. There is also a good overview of the issues with using LBS, such as interoperability. Interoperability, I think, is even more important than emphasized in the paper. Although location-based services aren’t restricted to expensive hi-end devices like smartphones (the article doesn’t even explicitly mention LBS in the cellular phone market), it is still fact that certain kinds of phones can benefit more from LBS (i.e. smartphones) than other phones (feature phones + ‘dumb’ phones). This brings to mind a video I just watched where Eric Schmidt of Google gave his views on future developments in internet and telecoms at a couple days ago (not actually directly relevant to LBS). However, he made it clear that, while there are many users with fancy smartphones out there, there are still 5 billion without them, or running on older generation hardware (and networks). I think this is another factor that is holding back the development of LBS. The user base may be large, but still not homogenous, as there is a whole range of devices out there (2G to 4G/LTE). Eric Schmidt gave his opinion that the divide between those that have the cutting edge of devices, and those that don’t, will persist for quite a while longer. If this is the case, LBS will have a tough time being deployed globally, as developers will have to try to design their systems for many different devices, with different operating systems, different processing power, and different capabilities. It may be the case that LBSes for mobile phones will have to be split into hardware specific categories, but since this hardware availability varies with geographic location, there will be a large portion of the world where a certain service will be unavailable. In the final part of his talk, Eric Schmidt answered questions, in which he stated something along the lines of ‘the smartphone of today is the feature phone of tomorrow’. It certainly seems the case in the mobile phone market where certain features are becoming more commonplace, and processing power and memory is constantly increasing. If this is the case throughout the world, then we should be optimistic for the spread of LBS throughout the world.



2 Responses to “The development potential of LBS”

  1. Andrew says:

    Shall I send my two outdated iPhones, complete with stylized-broken screens to developing countries? I think this could work. Busines—i mean philanthropic meeting after class, okay?

    • Peck says:

      haha. unfortunately, they wouldn’t reach their full potential in many countries anyway due to a lack of 3G networks