The next wave is LBS: Don’t fall behind
According to a new research report by Berg Insight, mobile location-based service (LBS) revenues in Europe are forecast to grow from 325 million euros in 2012 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5 percent to reach 825 million euros by 2017. The North American LBS market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9.2 percent from $835 million in 2012 to reach $1.29 billion in 2017. Berg Insight estimates that 40 percent of all mobile subscribers in Europe use some kind of location-enhanced application on a regular basis. In North America, the larger installed base of GPS-enabled handsets and smartphones has enabled higher uptake of LBS. Berg Insight estimates that about 50 percent of all mobile subscribers in the region now access LBS at least monthly. Local search, social networking and navigation services are the top application categories in terms of number of active users. Mobile workforce management services that aim to improve operational efficiency for businesses are also gaining traction in new industry segments.
“Smartphones are the most important enabler for LBS adoption in general. The installed base of smartphones in Europe has now reached 45 percent of total handsets and already surpassed 55 percent in North America,” said André Malm, senior analyst of Berg Insight. He adds that besides differences in smartphone adoption, there are other regional differences. “Mobile operators still play a more central role in North America than in Europe, marketing branded services to both consumer and enterprise customers.”
However, the operators’ central role in the LBS ecosystem is now being challenged by the smartphone ecosystems that bundle key LBS and give developers access to location data and distribution channels in the form of on-device app stores. Mobile operators are therefore showing renewed interest in offering network-based bulk location data for advertising and analytics, as well as new services such as secure authentication and fraud management.
There are lots of popular LBS applications in use in Turkey. The most well-known to drivers is the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (İBB) traffic application. It shows how crowded the main roads are and shows you where in that jam you are. The usage of LBS applications will rise fast as the number of smart phones is increasing exponentially. There are already many affordable models in the market and all three operators are getting ready to flood the market with even cheaper smart phones in a bid to convert the main revenue source from voice to data. The Turkish telecommunications market is a replica of the European one, so we can expect that anyone who is investing on LBS will be able to generate lots of cash in the coming years.