LBS Thoughts

The price of a map on my phone – £0.00

There is a campaign that Mastercard runs in the UK and maybe elsewhere comparing the value of goods and services with the value of Mastercard, of course the value of Mastercard is always priceless ! Well is appears over the past couple of months and with the latest announcement from Motorola picked up by All Points Blog, The price of maps on a phone is zero.

I have two mobile devices I carry around with me, my N95 and a Blackberry both of which have manufacturer installed mapping applications which offer extensive street level mapping data free of charge.. in the case of the N95 I can even download offline a global mapping dataset to store on my 2GB storage card so that I won’t incur the stupid data rates imposed by the network operators in the UK

Of course if you don’t have a new Nokia, Motorola or Blackberry you can download Google Maps for Mobile which delivers the same Google maps experience of the desktop on any mobile device which can run Java.

I remember as a data supplier we had such high hopes of the mobile market and LBS taking off as a major revenue stream, it still is a potentially a major stream, but it is certainly not going to be the gold mine it was hoped to be with individual transaction based billing of consumers. That was always going to be too costly and complex to build a business model around, at best a subscription model as used for some of the navigation applications might be sustainable.. but time will tell.

Written and submitted from Hyatt Hotel, Calgary, using its in-room wired network.

3 replies on “The price of a map on my phone – £0.00”

It’s worth noting that the mapping that comes “free” on the N95 does have additional chargeable options; for Navigation (turn left in 100m) and also with optional guide books.

What is clever about this is that they need to provide the basic mapping free in order to hook people in and potentially stop them from buying a dedicated GPS. However when they find themselves alone in a car they need to pay the extra for the additional navigation.

The new theory of providing the core functionality for free to mobile phone users opens up so many possibilities, as Google Maps/Earth has does for Web2.0.

I’m investigating the convergence of the two (currently somewhat separated) technologies. Tracking a user’s location is quite easy, but coming up with an idea to ‘glue’ the online desktop and mobile platforms together is a little more tricky.

The best from the mobile market is yet to come. Imagine a ‘blood pressure’ monitor connected to a mobile phone (perhaps via bluetooth). In the event of extreme BP, the mobile phone sends a notification to the nearest on-call GP. It’s possible in the next 5-10 years such systems will become common-place.

Integrating mobile phones, biosensors and geosensors is going to be huge in public service delivery…but maybe I’m just an optimist 🙂

Add a comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.