Location-based services (LBS)

Location data is a vital part of the mobile experience and enables some of the most widely used mobile apps, which can be used for geo-social networking, navigation and travel, retail and real estate searches, and mobile marketing and advertising. Whether used for locating friends in the area, finding the nearest restaurant or advertising deals to shoppers who are in the neighbourhood, location-based services (LBS) grant users access to relevant, up-to-date information about their surroundings and allow businesses to provide current updates to their customers. All these features offer a dynamic user experience, providing a new level of convenience that changes the way businesses interact with customers and other enterprises.

While LBS offers convenience and interactivity that was not possible before, they have also raised concerns about user privacy. As LBS apps relay a user’s location data to networks, they also have the ability to build a precise and personal user profile based on the collected data. The trade-off in this scenario is a high-quality user experience at the expense of one’s privacy.

This resource contains the following sections:

I. Location-Based Services Trends & Statistics

II. Location-Based Services and Privacy

III. Tracking the Latest Developments in Location-Based Services

I. Location-Based Services Trends & Statistics

Look to these reports, links and infographics to find the latest trends and relevant statistics on location-based services.

General Trends & Statistics

Location-Based Services (Pew Research Centre, 2013): This study by the Pew Research Centre examines the role of location in digital life. This study shows that around 74% of smartphone owners in the US use their phone to receive real-time location-based information. The findings are based on telephone interviews with over 2,000 adult participants. An updated figure can be found in this blog post by Pew Research.

Skyhook Research Reveals Huge, Untapped Opportunity for Location Permissions in Apps (2015): A blog post by Skyhook Wireless regarding the future opportunity of location-based service.

LBS Marketing and Advertising Trends & Statistics

These resources point specifically toward marketing and advertising trends that use location-based technology solutions.

NinthDecimal Mobile Audience Insights Report: NinthDecimal, a mobile-audience intelligence company, provides reports that analyze mobile shopping consumer behaviour in the US. Although the reports are not specifically geared toward the topic of LBS, many of the statistics highlight location-based behaviour.

Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA): The LBMA is an international group dedicated to research and education of LBS technologies used in marketing and advertising. The LBMA website offers research (an aggregate of both internal and external publications), international event listings, case studies, podcasts and a blog. The blog covers a wide range of content on LBS, including best practices, commentary on trends, and new developments in technology. Notable publications from the LBMA’s research section include:

  • LBMA Global Location Trends Report: This paper summarizes the findings of LBMA’s survey to understand global brands’ investment interests in location-based technology and services.
  • Using Digital Solutions to Enhance the Customer Experience (CMA/LoyaltyOne, 2015) (PDF): This study, conducted in July 2015, looks at Canadian consumers’ interest in, and awareness and adoption of location-based technology. The report indicates consumers are open to beacon technology in particular, while research shows retailers are slow to exploit various smart-device technologies to connect to their loyal customers and deliver personalized omni-channel shopping experiences.
  • BLE vs. NFC: This infographic examines the key roles played by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and near-field communication (NFC) in helping businesses and consumers engage with one another.
  • Transforming The Customer Experience (First Data, 2013) – This white paper introduces the idea of “Universal Commerce”―commerce that can occur anytime, anywhere and from any device and that combines aspects of in-store commerce, e-commerce and mobile commerce. The report discusses how with Universal Commerce, shopping, payment, marketing, loyalty and money management merge to provide a seamlessly integrated shopping experience.

The Business Case for Personalization: This infographic presents the prospective benefits of personalization for both consumers and retailers.

Marketing goes local (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2012): This report details the new digital ecosystem that combines mobile commerce, location-based media and data analytics, and also examines the marketing opportunities that arise from these new technologies. The paper also presents case studies from retailers who have already implemented LBS technology into their marketing strategies.

MomentFeed: MomentFeed is a social marketing platform built for mobile technology that connects customers with brands at the point of sale. MomentFeed’s Resource Library, which include white papers, blog posts, infographics and case studies, are available for free.

Evaluating the Changing Landscape of Retail Marketing (RetailMeNot, 2016): A whitepaper by RetailMeNot and eTail that exams how brands are approaching new strategies and investing in new technologies to create the best possible omni-channel shopping experiences for their customers.

Street Fight: Street Fight covers the hyperlocal marketing industry. Hyperlocal marketing focuses on specific communities within certain geographic areas and is directed toward the participants in those communities, rather than the general public. Street Fight’s website provides news, trends, case studies, commentary and research on the business of hyperlocal.

The Why Before the Buy (YP Marketing Solutions, 2016) (PDF): This white paper takes a closer look at the importance of location data, and what values consumers use to make purchase decisions and how they obtain the information through multiple devices.

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II. Location-Based Services and Privacy

Transmission, retrieval and collection of personal data allow LBS to perform tasks that are personalized, relevant and convenient for the user. However, the collection of this data raises questions about who, when and under what circumstances this information can and should be accessed. The following publications examine these complex issues.

Location-Based Services Report (Federal Communications Commission, 2012): This detailed report from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides an overview of LBS technologies, related issues on privacy and transparency, and the regulations to which LBS technologies must adhere. Amid growing concern over the data transmitted and collected by carriers using LBS technology, this report guides readers through the murky terrain of privacy policies and the rights of the consumer, and surveys government initiatives to regulate LBS.

Location-Based Services: Time for a Privacy Check-In (dotRights, 2010) (PDF): dotRights is an online initiative by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to ensure public education about online privacy rights. This report covers privacy concerns that have been prompted by location-based technology. A primer on LBS and privacy is included, as well as information on legal privacy protections in the US to which consumers are entitled, and details on how these privacy protections are reinforced.

III. Tracking the Latest Developments in Location-Based Services

These resources help keep entrepreneurs up-to-date with the latest developments in location-based services.
Directions Magazine: Directions Magazine helps geospatial professionals and information technology workers understand and capitalize on location-based information technology. This publication covers the latest in:

  • Geospatial technology
  • Policy and security issues for location-based information
  • Location intelligence
  • Mobile technology
  • Education
  • Jobs

Directions Magazine publishes original material as well as content aggregated from external sources. Features of the site include articles, blog posts, podcasts, webinars and white papers.

GPS Business News: GPS Business News delivers LBS industry news. An emerging trend that has received extensive coverage on the site is “Indoor LBS,” which entails transmitting and receiving indoor location information.

GPS World: GPS World provides updates on the latest LBS app releases and how new technology developments can influence LBS.

Telematics Update: Telematics Update is a news site that focuses on the convergence of automotive telematics and mobile and web technology. It has a dedicated section that covers navigation and LBS issues as they relate to automotive navigation and fleet tracking. Telematics

Update offers its Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013 at a cost (although you can download the report extract for free with registration). The report examines issues of connectivity between auto manufacturers, app developers and associated services and the difficulties that arise in coordinating LBS app technology with the automotive industry.

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