As wireless carriers continue to explore new revenue opportunities in an evolving market, services that rely on network-based location tracking are seen as a huge opportunity. “We see a range of new Location Information Services (LIS) emerging around insurance, banking, analytics, M2M/MRM, advertising, hospitality and IVR supported by always-on, cloud-based location across all device types,” ABI analyst Patrick Connolly noted in a recent report. “Additionally, the US, EMEA, Latin American, and Asian carriers are showing strong signs of adoption in 2013, working with a mixture of local and international partners.” Though not all uses of location tracking technology among carriers have been well received, ABI notes that successful proximity-based advertising campaigns are already underway. The firm sees annual revenue from carrier location-based services growing to more than $300 million within the next five years.
On Thursday, Groupon — the popular location-based coupon service — filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The start-up, which alerts 83 million email subscribers in 43 different countries of local deals that range from restaurant discounts to sailing lessons, hopes to raise $750 million in its IPO. “Expect us to make ambitious bets on our future that distract us from our current business,” Andrew Mason, Groupon’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Some bets we’ll get right, and others we’ll get wrong, but we think it’s the only way to continuously build disruptive products,” Mason added. Groupon launched in November, 2007, has more than 7,000 employees, and reported $645 million in revenues during Q1 2011. Hit the break for a letter from Mason that was included with the company’s filing. More →
On Wednesday Delivery.com — the popular food delivery service — launched a dedicated iPhone application. It offers a bunch of useful features, including a “nearby” feature to find restaurants that deliver nearby, automatic sync with your account, the ability to filter for cuisine, distance, or rating, and more. Users can check out using a debit card, gift card, or credit card, although we suspect that cash-on-delivery is still an option, too. The application is free in case you’re ever looking for McDonald’s delivery in NYC — yes, we’ve done that. More →
Motorola is reportedly ditching Android’s built-in location services on much of its Android handset lineup and replacing it with the location service code from Skyhook Wireless — a location services company out of Boston, MA. With its less than accurate positioning data, Google’s built-in system has been the bane of handset manufacturers and Android app developers alike. Rather than wait for Google to improve its location services, Motorola is turning to Skyhook, whose service uses a combination of Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation, cell tower triangulation, and GPS information to provide fast and accurate location information. With Skyhook on board, both built-in and third party apps like Twidroid, Yelp, and Foursquare will be able to report your location with pin-point accuracy. The technology is already in use by Apple in iPhones, iPads, iPod Touchs, and Mac OS X. Great news for all those stalkers location-based app users out there. More →
Without warning or explanation, non-functional QR codes began appearing on random Facebook profiles earlier this week. After a few days of speculation, a new rumor has surfaced to give meaning to these scannable boxes of black and white squares. According to the latest leaked information, the QR codes will reportedly play a role in Facebook’s upcoming mobile application which will utilize codes for a new location-based service. Similar to and perhaps even in conjunction with Gowalla and Foursquare, these QR codes would let you check-in at businesses, like your local pub or favorite restaurant, and alert your Facebook friends to your location. Much of the success of this program hinges on the average Facebook user’s ability to understand and utilize QR code technology which, after the whole ReadWriteWeb login debacle, is highly questionable. Additional information on this new QR code-drive, location-based service is expected at Facebook’s f8 conference scheduled for the end of April. More →
According to an article published yesterday by GPS Business News, RIM may have quietly acquired struggling nav/LBS firm Dash Navigation. The site’s co-founder and Editor allegedly spoke to a trusted source who claims that the acquisition is a done deal. Dash, as we’re sure you’ll remember, was the maker of an awesome little connected nav unit that, well, no one bought. In November of last year, Dash laid off several staffers and announced it would cease production of its hardware solution, the Dash Express. While Dash has long since stopped making hardware navigation units like the one we had a little fun with above, the company would continue to license its software to hardware and mobile handset manufacturers moving forward. Despite its lack of user adoption, Dash indeed built a solid platform that is literally world’s beyond RIM’s current mapping/LBS solutions on BlackBerry devices. If RIM is looking to improve its offerings, snatching up Dash would definitely be a very inexpensive way to go. Neither RIM nor Dash have commented on acquisition rumors.
UPDATE: RIM confirmed that it has acquired Dash.
Building on the success of the integrated location-based services in the iPhone, it looks like Apple is getting set to include some similar functionality in its upcoming Snow Leopard OS release. According to Apple Insider, the new operating system will allow software developers to utilize Wi-Fi triangulation to integrate location information into their applications. This could in turn be used to provide a variety of proximity-based information for portable computer users. On the input side, it looks like Snow Leopard will also be gaining further multi-touch support. No word on exactly what this might entail, but given the integration of multi-touch trackpads on the new line of Apple portables, we’re guessing that it might include support for new gestures and/or the ability to interface with external multi-touch input devices. While Snow Leopard is still being billed as more of a maintenance release, these new features should add significant value to the new operating system and provide an extra layer of incentive for those on the fence about upgrading.