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Location-Based Services - Back to the Future

Location-Based Services - Back to the Future - Standards...

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Published by the IEEE CS n 1536-1268/08/$25.00 © 2008 IEEE PERVASIVE computing 85 Standards & Emerging Technologies Editor: Sumi Helal n University of Florida n [email protected] Location-Based Services: Back to the Future Paolo Bellavista, Axel Küpper, and Sumi Helal G ainesville, Florida, 10 March 2012 . Today, the Mobile Location- Based Services Summit hosted a panel entitled “What Was Wrong with First-Generation Location-Based Ser- vices?” The panel chair, Sumi Helal of the University of Florida, invited two world-class experts in LBS history and technology to discuss the topic: Paolo Bellavista of the University of Bologna and Axel Küpper of the University of Munich. The panel discussed the pop- ularity of today’s LBSs and analyzed their distinguishing aspects in compari- son with first-generation LBSs. The panel was anything but contro- versial, with all panelists in total agree- ment on what initially went wrong and why today’s LBSs work. They analyzed how the failure unfolded to set the stage for a major paradigm shift in LBS busi- ness and technology and noted the milestones that shaped today’s LBSs. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE The panel opened with a historical overview of LBS evolution, which we quickly review here (see figure 1). The main origin of LBS was the E911 (Enhanced 911) mandate, which the US government passed in 1996. The man- date was for mobile-network operators to locate emergency callers with pre- scribed accuracy, so that the operators could deliver a caller’s location to Pub- lic Safety Answering Points. Cellular technology couldn’t fulfill these accu- racy demands back then, so operators started enormous efforts to introduce advanced positioning methods. To gain returns on the E911 invest- ments, operators launched a series of commercial LBSs. In most cases, these consisted of finder services that, on request, delivered to users a list of nearby points of interest, such as res- taurants or gas stations. However, most users weren’t interested in this kind of LBS, so many operators quickly phased out their LBS offerings and stopped related development efforts. It was 2005 before the LBS wind started blowing again—this time in the right direction. Several significant developments and favorable conditions came together at that time to resurrect LBSs. The emergence of GPS-capable mobile devices, the advent of the Web 2.0 paradigm, and the introduction of 3G broadband wireless services were among the enabling developments. In the meantime, small software and hard- ware companies realized a broad range of LBS capabilities for both mass and niche markets and laid down the foun- dation for a new generation of LBSs. After the quick overview, the panel identified and extensively analyzed the five primary factors that collectively changed a commercial flop into a perva- sive on-the-go service for consumers.
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