Mobile and LBS Trends | Telmap interviewed by The Where Business
An Executive Insight With Tsipi Joseph, Director of Marketing, Telmap
December 16, 2012
Tsipi Joseph, Director of Marketing at Telmap, offers her thoughts about the latest mobile, geo-location, location-based advertising and services trends.
What has been the most interesting trend in the mobile and the location-based services industry during 2012? Why?
I really think that there have been three interesting trends: first of all there has been monetisation as many companies previously hadn’t been that focused necessarily on how to monetise their products, but rather at audience acquisition. Now is the time to start looking more closely at monetisation, otherwise they might not last long.
The second one is the availability of location APIs and third party developers who are looking for ways to add location. Many have been using Google. Google has made some changes with regards to their APIs, pricing and terms and conditions. Transaction limits (how many you are getting for free are an example).
The result is that many developers are looking for alternatives, one of which is of course the Telmap location APIs that are offered through the Intel Developers Program. The third one is indoor mapping, positioning and navigation. More and more venues are being mapped. We are going to see more and more of this. It looks like it will become part of the integral LBS offering that we know today.
How will the advent of 4G mobile broadband change this landscape in 2013 and beyond?
I think today’s network is not a limitation for LBS. It would be nice to have people connected all of the time, and the network being able to handle large volumes of data. Maybe it will affect visualization aspects of the service but it really is a bit early to say. I can’t say for sure that the advent of 4G will have a huge impact on LBS.
Has the concern over privacy been replaced by an acceptance by consumers of data collation and sharing in order to determine points of interest and in order to send them offers?
For us I have to say that privacy hasn’t been a major issue, as we are very respectful of what people are looking for, and once they understand the value of what they are sharing it’s not a problem. For example, we are offering people coupons and offers based on their location and relevance to what they are after. Generally today, I think people feel that they are asked to share a lot of information and they often don’t see the value or the reason for it. With mobile games for example, why do you need to share your location? We are trying to be very relevant to people, and so if we ask them for their location, or for any other piece of information, they know they will get value back from us. The most obvious example is when you are looking for deals around you; you can click on the right folder in the application and see what’s available around you. Without knowing what you are looking for and where you are we wouldn’t be able to provide relevant offers.
Will there be any level of consolidation in the location-based services applications market in 2013?
During the last year there has been a proliferation of new applications for all devices.
A lot of consolidation has already happened, and the big players like Google, Nokia-Microsoft, Intel-Telmap and Apple, who entered recently, will continue to evolve their LBS offering. But there will always be room for a niche application. Today only Telmap offers a solution that is not one size fits all, and is really customized per market. There is no replacement to applications are hyper-local in nature. As for your question, yes, Navteq are providing a breadth of maps and points of interest and they are doing it well up to a certain level, but with the UK for example, if you add to the NAVTEQ layer information from local providers like Ordnance Survey, Barclays Cycle Hire and My Voucher Codes, you can a different experience. Without these added layers, it’s not the same application.
You say that 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the big players, but how about the small players? What is their role in this market and can they compete with their larger counterparts?
It’s a game of the big players, but like I said, there will always be room for niche players. If you have a good niche or hyper-local information, then you will have a place in the market. These niches can be a variety of things like local apartment hunting, location-based dating services – a variety of services that won’t necessarily make it into the mainstream location-based services. Also, there are a lot of new applications released all the time, “out of the garage” applications as you call them, but they need to start monetising soon as otherwise they won’t survive for long. Some will be acquired in order to be included in a larger offering that can be monetised. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to survive.
What kind of performance can we expect from Nokia during 2013: will it rebound?
That’s hard to say. They have done some interesting things like their co-operation with Microsoft and the launch of HERE. But time will tell. Their offering of course makes the market more competitive. If their product will prove to be a strong one and if Windows 8 Mobile catches up, then you never know. As for Telmap we have not yet decided whether to develop for Windows 8 mobile. We want to see how well it will do before we decide to invest in it or not.
The mobile network operators can impact how well Windows 8 mobile does, because a lot of the devices are still being sold through them. We continue working both with our operator customers and direct-to-consumer. In the UK and Spain we have launched M8, your local mate. It is a location-based services application that can help you find everything you need while on-the-go. It is available for free on Android, iOS and Blackberry Touch devices. It’s been very successful; we have close to 5 star reviews in all the app stores, and 70% of our install base is active each month.
You mention that there will be more sophisticated usage of location-based services applications: what examples of this can you provide?
I think the sophistication element is about adding context to LBS. Integration with personal information on your device, as well as location related information. For example at the end of navigation we can offer parking or checking in through Facebook. We can see that you are at the end of a meeting, have a window until your next appointment and offer relevant activities. On the weekend we can provide suggestions of how to spend your weekend. We call this context. In everything we offer the user we are trying to be aware of their state of mind and offer real value, nothing that might be a nuisance.
In what way will LBS continue to go beyond navigation and how much further can convergence go?
Again, I think context is the name of the game. That’s the way LBS is heading. There are lots of things we can do, knowing your daily tasks and schedule. You are searching for information before and after you’re going somewhere. We can offer more value before, during and after navigation, based on context. Of course, there will be more integrations of different types of content.
What are your predictions for the advertising space?
I can comment on location-based advertising. More advertisers are looking for this type of advertising. Right now it’s a matter of maturing and growing to get the ball rolling. We already see growth in this space and it will continue. To Telmap location-based advertising is very important as we see it as a way to bring real value to the user, bringing relevance to what the user is looking for. We aren’t looking to just throw irrelevant ads on a map, but to offer it at the right moment and time. In financial value it’s still small for us, but over the coming years we expect it to become significant.
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