Mobile LBS needs to focus on crowd-sourcing and user experience


Heike Roettgers is a freelance internet and mobile consultant, helping agencies and start-ups with product strategy and roadmap planning, product concepts, product management and project management.

It’s easy to get carried away by high-tech mobile gear – but sometimes you forget that mobile is about people. Unless users like and use your service, it will wither away. At the Navigation and Location Summit Europe 2010 in Berlin last week, GoMo News reporter Heike Roettgers wrote about the importance of user experience, crowd-sourcing and targeting.

No single player can do it all – the importance of partnerships and crowd-sourcing

ESRI is one of the leaders in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) worldwide – Ian Koeppel, Business Development Manager spoke about the importance of using your partners and audience to help carry the workload.

He pointed out that the navigation and location ecosystem is well suited to partnerships, especially as web-based GIS is emerging as a shared platform. This platform can support new partnerships and business models, including businesses, governments, consumers and academia.

While GIS implementations have traditionally focused on desktops and servers, a new vision based on cloud computing is now emerging. The cloud and web GIS are being used to allow the sharing of data and services between many devices and entities. Open standards and APIs, as well as easy-to-use clients, allow organisations to create their own geo-services. With this, new applications emerge, transported by iPhone, iPad and Blackberry devices. Governments open their data sources and organisations can use this data to inform citizens (house prices, etc). But platforms are also being created to allow citizens to contribute data, for example by providing information on road problems (FixMyStreet, OpenStreetMap).

What do users want?

Chris Schreiner, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics delivered some key stats around what kind of use navigation systems actually get from their owners:

  • 39% of embedded navigation system owners in Western Europe use their system at least once a week.
  • However 21% are not using it at all – compared to only 2% of PNDs which don’t get used.
  • In the UK, 46% of consumers say that speed camera alert system is a desired feature, closely followed by real-time traffic, which is a must-have feature for 75% of consumers in France.
  • In Germany 97% of respondents say that real-time traffic is important to them.
  • The majority of smartphone owners are interested in LBS, such as routes, maps, traffic and city guides.

Mr Schreiner says Voice HMI (human-machine interface) has reached a crucial stage, and they have become advanced enough to accurately recognize simple command and control dialogues. His recommendation is to move toward a hybrid strategy of providing embedded and server-side recognition engines.

Location Based Advertising is still a niche market

Andrew Little, Director Publisher Affiliations EMEA of NAVTEQ Media Solutions, presented LocationPoint advertising solution for NAVTEQ’s digital maps. He claimed that 51% of Europeans are willing to receive advertising on their navigation device, rather than pay for the service.

His case study was of an advertising campaign promoting a 1-Euro-cheeseburger for McDonald’s – this showed exceptionally high CTRs of 7% (instead of 0.17% to 0.4% for traditional campaigns). Map engagement from the campaign page was also very high, with 39%.

This being said, LBS advertising on navigation devices is still a niche product due to very selected targeting: not only is it opt-in for users, but the ad-server is only contacted if the user comes within a pre-defined distance of the advertiser’s outlet. This is still a very niche product for the long tail of advertising. NAVTEQ’s approach to reaching the long tail advertisers is, according to Andrew Little, via yellow pages companies, using a white-label reseller model. But the company is also planning to create a self-serve advertising platform.

Click here to see the all GoMo News reports from the Navigation and Location Summit Europe 2010

To get a better insight into the developing world of how mobile is changing the way people interact with the world, check out the People Tracking and Location USA conference, June 22-23, 2010 – Chicago from TheWhereBusiness

About Cian O' Sullivan

Ace reporter, Cian, has moved on from GoMo News. He is currently the office manager for Photocall Ireland - Ireland's premier news and PR photography agency. You can check out the site at If you want to contact him directly about anything, Cian's new email is cian at photocallireland dot com.
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