A Location-Based Service (LBS) is an information service provided by operators that is accessible by mobile devices. LBS services utilize the geographic position of the mobile device to provide location information to the consumer. Uses of LBS include mapping and navigation applications and social networking services based on location and presence technologies either embedded in the handset or placed in the network.
LBS services can be used in a variety of contexts, such as health care, professional and personal life, etc. LBS services include services to identify a location of a person or object, such as finding the nearest ATM machine, business or the location of a friend or employee. The applications that LBS services enable continue to grow. For example, LBS services include parcel tracking and vehicle tracking services. LBS services can include mobile commerce when taking the form of coupons or advertising directed at customers based on their current location. They include personalized weather services, traffic alerts and even location-based games.
In addition to consumer benefits, LBS services provide benefits to the enterprise user such as resource tracking and fleet management, search functions, and targeted promotions.
In the past, LBS services have been closely associated with E911 emergency services and public safety, and this will continue to be refined in the near future. However, the promise of commercial LBS services has been prevalent for several years. Location information may be to the cell site level, or eventually, within a few meters. This type of location awareness and high accuracy technology can add tremendous value to any application that provides relevant, contextually accurate location-based content.
The first LBS services globally were first launched commercially in Japan by NTT DoCoMo based on triangulation for pre-GPS handsets in July 2001, and by KDDI for the first mobile phones equipped with GPS in December 2001. Mobile handset makers have taken an upstream initiative to embed LBS in their mobile equipment. Originally, LBS services were developed by mobile carriers in partnership with mobile content providers.
The main advantage is that mobile users don't have to manually specify ZIP codes or other location identifiers to use LBS, when they roam into a different location. GPS tracking is a major ingredient for success, utilizing access to mobile web.