Location information to unlock more value for mobile services

Life is mobile, and with that mobility comes the tricky element of relevance in service delivery to a mobile consumer. While content has been said to be king, context and relevance must be taken into account, otherwise that content is useless data.

Location on mobile can be tapped into via different ways; CellId, GPS, Agps and lastly user generated. For you to use mobile services, your mobile phone must communicate with a mast and these masts have known locations. The mast with which your mobile communicates changes as you move and by triangulating  data from these interactions we can determine your location. GPS stands for global positioning system and this uses a series of satellites to derive location information. User generated location is subjective entry of one’s location onto a system.There are many services that can be taken to the next level once location information is appended. Take directory services for example, and assume you were looking for a Chinese restaurant. With your location plugged into the service, you will receive particulars of restaurants that are close by, as it makes no sense to get a listing of a restaurant in Kisumu, yet you are in Nairobi.

Government is also a would be beneficiary of this new parameter as it would make it easier for you to automatically locate government services closer to you, more so in this era of decentralized government.

In other markets location based services have seen adoption in navigation – with better defined road networks and higher cell tower densities , people locator services – which are popular in Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and North America , local search and mobile advertising – with mobile consumers getting  local and relevant advertising.

As with all technology, new services must be eased into the market with education on the value proposition done to drive uptake.  In Kenya for example, leading telecommunications provider Safaricom activated location, and mobile subscribers could see their location information update as they moved across the city. What happened next was consumer backlash that saw the service deactivated as users thought that they were being tracked and therefore their privacy violated.

With matters of privacy and user information dealt with, I believe that the mobile network operators should open up location to developers to allow for the creation of new services, or the extension of current mobile services that will add more value to the consumer.

Location is key.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
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One Comment

  1. Wesley

    Great article! Perhaps Safaricom should have educated the public about the service instead of withdrawing it completely, or perhaps let people opt-in the service.

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