The Mobile Location Services Industry

Mobile location services can be divided into two categories: those designed for in-vehicle use and those designed for personal use. Although the applications might be similar at a basic level, the business models, client technology, and service providers are distinctly different. In-vehicle solutions will be developed and provided by the large auto manufacturers and their investments, often as original equipment provided with the vehicle, whereas personal solutions will be developed by mobile operators and deployed on small handheld mobile devices. Both in-vehicle applications and personal applications are likely to leverage partnerships with large media and travel services organizations for a complete and compelling solution.

Figure 2.5 illustrates the value chain for in-vehicle mobile location services. The auto manufacturers have large existing customer bases and will bundle hardware and service with new vehicles. Tier-one auto component suppliers such as Bosch (Blaupunkt) and VDO provide the hardware, and the applications and service will be provided by telematics service providers like OnStar and Tegaron. Unlike OnStar, which is a consumer brand, Tegaron plans private-label service for the auto brand. Providing mobile location services requires a mobile network and a location server to build applications with. The location server is a robust and scalable platform that provides quick operations like mobile positioning, address lookups (geocoding), driving directions (routing), map image generation, and nearest points of interest lookups. With this basic set of tools it is possible to begin building mobile location service applications.

Figure 2.5. In-Vehicle Mobile Location Services Value Chain.


Figure 2.6 shows how the personal mobile location services value chain is different. The existing customer base is owned by either the mobile operator or a media company such as Yahoo! or AOL. In Europe, the mobile portal is usually either an investment or a wholly owned subsidiary of the mobile operator. Unlike in the telematics value chain, services are branded and provided directly by the mobile portal. The same location server is required to provide service, and the client hardware is the mobile phone.

Figure 2.6. Personal Mobile Location Services Value Chain.