Whether you're trying to locating friends, finding the nearest restaurant or advertising deals to shoppers walking around, location-based services (LBS) gives you access to relevant, up-to-date information about the surroundings, no matter if you're a buyer or a seller. Here is a brief look at how it works and what others are doing with it.
Written by M. Ifthikar
Written on 10.05.2020 22:41
Location-based services or LBS provides information, entertainment, or security services to smartphone users based on the geographical location. As the LBS platforms get creative continually, the users adapting and depending on these services are also on the rise. Let’s get into it.
You're getting Routes and Direction assistance from Google Maps. A ‘check-in’ at your newly visiting place and Foursquare finds you the restaurants, shops, gas stations, or any attractions around you - including your friends. Ride-hailing services like Uber locating your pickup location. And it doesn't stop there; if you remember the days when Pokémon Go was making people wander on the streets to catch a Pokemon? Well, they all use LBS (location-based services), and it’s becoming a new trend in urban mobility. Now, a little bit behind the scenes:
A Geographic Information System or GIS, in short, is a system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying location data related to positions on Earth's surface such as street names, buildings, rivers, etc. – Say a graphical map. Location-based Services uses both GPS technology to track your geographical location through your smartphone, and then puts that location information from the GIS map to provide you with personalized services. Once you have opted-in the location services, this is how the LBS identifying your current location down to the street or villa location happens.
For indoors, or to enhance in-venue experiences of customers, visitors or users such as in the parks, hyper malls, hotels, museums, hospitals, airports, skyscrapers, underground locations, or any similar in-door public areas, where GPS might lack precision or unavailable, Wi-Fi or Beacons with Bluetooth, or a combined approach is common, and they act as in-door GPS. Location-based Services - Examples:
Companies are continuously coming up with stunning and innovative uses of the technology to add values to their brand names, customer and employee experiences, optimized daily operations, and sales strategies. Here are a few such solutions picked from both indoor & outdoor LBS:
Store locators: Location-based intelligence helps retail customers find nearest store locations. In addition to map apps and other apps solely designed to do this, many larger businesses with branches are adding this feature to their mobile apps.
Proximity-based marketing: LBS ‘proximity marketing’ enables retailers to send push notifications about their discounts, coupons and special offers to nearby prospects within the vicinity of their stores – say, a push recipient walking past the store in the mall, might think about stepping into the store to check what that notification means.
Travel information: LBS delivers instant information, such as warning of a traffic jam, detours, accidents, or weather reports to the smartphones so the users, travelers, and travel planners can adjust their plans accordingly.
Hospitality: Some leading hotel chains have already started using LBS to personalize the guest experience by providing personal travel guides, wayfinding capabilities, and special offers based on guest preferences, location, and time. Also, hotels are applying the technology to streamline their daily departmental operations; few of the areas are, daily cleaning tasks of housekeeping and repair tasks of the maintenance department - because tracking staff locations, and the time they spend are a daily hassle for large hotels.
Roadside assistance: In the event of an accident, a blown tire, or any other breakdown, roadside assistance companies rely on an app that allows them to track your exact location accurately rather than depending on verbal directions, saves time & wrong information.
Mobile workforce management: Companies whose employees are mostly out in the field or at multiple locations, LBS allows those staff to check-in at a remote location using their mobile devices. For mobile workforces – say in HVAC, Plumbing, telecom, insurance, or similar services; mobile time tracking with clock-in & clock-out are crucial for employee wage calculation, performance monitoring, and overall management of such staff, on the move.
Fraud prevention: When talking about fraud, what comes in our minds is credit cards, because they are the primary payment method today, and the number of fraudsters they attract daily is not surprising. LBS enables banks to create another level of security by matching a customer’s location of the smartphone to the place where the credit card transaction happens.
Airlines & airports: LBS within the airports helps airlines send offers & last-minute upgrades options to their customers. On the other side, airports also help their travelers in wayfinding and collecting analytics on travelers.
Online gaming: Location-based mobile games using the harness of AR technology are becoming popular. While AR is making the players physically interact, LBS brings their current location into the scenario to make it feel real, virtually.
Location-based Services, GIS Companies:
The trend that sees constant growth in apps using LBS and the user adaption has opened new opportunities and startup ideas. However, not all app developers have the resources to develop LBS supported apps without using the APIs of large GIS companies; they utilize GIS service providers’ APIs & SDKs in their app developments. There are several such companies including, Esri, Aspect, Mapbox, etc. and even Google Maps is partially one of them.