Welcome to my blog

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog....

This is where I will pen my thoughts on Enterprise Mobility and other wireless technologies based on my learning’s/ experience over the course of my IT career.

The wireless world has been a very exciting place to be over the last few years. We have seen the introduction of ground breaking products and technologies have reached a never-before-seen level of maturity. The rate of enterprise adaptation to wireless technology is only accelerating day by day.

This is a personal blog and will focus on my thoughts and perspectives on wireless technology. Please feel free to share your opinions and viewpoints so that it can be discussed and debated. Though I would like to, I won't be able to post to this blog each day. Will try my best to write whenever I get time.

I hope that you will return often to this blog. Thanks again.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Enterprise LBS- Standards and its significance

LBS Standards and challenges in adapting to it

by Purushottam Darshankar

Location Based service provides geographic information using device/users location information, spatial data and content based on the user preferences. Until now most of the focus on LBS market has been on consumer market. Location identifier, friend finder, traffic information, convenience services, point of interests etc. have been contributing to more and more revenues for telecom operators. However the possibilities of ease of use, improving the productivity, operational efficiency and reduce cost through location aware services are seemingly endless for enterprise users. Enterprises see the benefits of giving their mobile personnel ready access to ‘where’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ information about the world around them, including information about mobile and stationary humans and physical assets. Also, emergency services, security and disaster management concerns are driving governments to deploy information systems with fully integrated geospatial capabilities, including LBS.
The major factor for enterprise LBS growth is its demand and technology readiness. The enterprise application such as field force automation, fleet management, asset tracking, location billing, CRM, inventory management and telematics etc. are being deployed today. The practicality of these applications are derived from – market proven advances in device technologies, web based software technologies and LBS standards. The most critical enabler for enterprise LBS is standard.
The new LBS standards are still on early stages in their level of maturity. The key challenge for LBS provider is to access the network operator and content provider through proprietary interfaces. As a result the integration effort to support business model workflow is high. Enterprises want LBS to be seamless with their enterprise information system. Shared resources, seamless interoperability, extensibility and collaboration are key to enterprise LBS.

Standards relevant to Location Based Services
The open mobile Alliance (OMA) and Open GIS consortium (OGC) are main governing bodies to provide LBS standards. OMA addresses all key elements of the LBS value chain including those addressed by Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) and Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) forum. The LIF and WAP are now part of OMA. LIF provides specification for determining location information securely.
The most important specification that OMA has come up with is MLP (Mobile Location Protocol). MLP enables LBS applications to interoperate with wireless network regardless of its air interfaces (GSM, CDMA etc.) and positioning methods. MLP defines a common interface that facilitates exchange of location information between the LBS application and location servers in wireless network (SMLC/GMLC). It also supports the privacy of user providing access to location information only to those who are authorized one.
To complement LIF’s advanced MLP services, OGC has come up with OpenLS Services which addresses the geospatial interoperability issues. Key services such as coordinate transformation, Web Mapping, Geography Markup Language (GML), geoprocessing and web integration are handled in OpenLS specification. The OpenLS platform provides open interfaces to LBS core services such as route determination, Directory, location utility (geocoder that obtains X,Y co-ordinates from address, and reverse geocoder that obtains address from X,Y co-ordinates), presentation (display showing map, point of interest, etc.), gateway (find position of mobile terminal ‘from the network’), etc. OpenLS abstract data types (ADTs) are the basic information constructs used by these core services. ADTs are ‘application schemas’ of well-known data types and structures for location information encoded in OGC’s XML for Location Services (XLS). These schemas encode location information, for example, route summary and route geometry, route instructions, location, area of interest and point of interest and address, etc.
OMA and OGC’s specifications are harmonised with those from telecoms standards groups connecting wire and wireless voice systems and the Internet – groups such as Parlay, Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), 3GPP2, European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and others.

Challenges in adapting to standards
The LBS standards have not been fully adapted yet; they are still on early stages in their level of maturity. As in other IT domain, open standards put pressure on companies that uses and sell proprietary solutions, but they also provide market extensibility- much broader adoption. The commercial potential and business advantages inherent in using LBS standards are attractive even to those companies that will need to eventually abandon the proprietary solutions they use or sell today. Some providers of LBS, particularly in Japan and Europe, are profiting from LBS offerings in consumer market that are increasing their overall wireless market share, and these companies will surely delay their implementation of standards. However their competitors, made more competitive through the benefits of standards, are likely to push them into the standards world.
The businesses who are adapting to standard based enterprise system will resists carriers efforts to ‘lock them into’ proprietary solutions and would put pressure on standard platform as it would meet their interoperability needs. For telecom operators it would provide a control on what applications they introduce and how those applications are integrated with content providers and their systems. For application service provider standard platform provide a one-stop shop for all their location-based application development needs.

No comments: