Top 7 Developments in Location-Based Services in 2013

2013 has been monumental year for Mobile Location. The adoption of location-based services is growing exponentially as are the numbers of wireless device owners, and things don't seem to be slowing down any time soon. In September, the IDC projected that by 2017 nearly 9 out of 10 connected devices will be mobile. And the majority of smartphone owners now use their phones' location-based services to navigate and communicate with the rest of the world. Location technology offers a solution for many of the key challenges businesses face in an increasingly mobile world: be hyper-local, reduce fraud, increase productivity, gain consumer insight, comply with regulations and drive revenue. Retailers can use mobile location to send highly relevant and targeted messages to their customers; logistics companies can track the location of their drivers and assets without the need for WiFi or GPS; and financial institutions can detect fraud and identity theft, reducing false positives. The applications are countless and continue to rise.

Here we highlight seven important developments in mobile location from this past year:

1. Google acquired Waze, a GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones, sending a message to today's mobile industry that Location Matters.

2. Geolocation was established as the common, mandatory thread for all States (New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware) that came online for internet gambling. Those States, and all future States that adopt internet and mobile gaming, can't operate without it. Real-money online gambling is a huge industry, generating almost $30 billion worldwide. In the US that opportunity can only be taken advantage of if operators use unspoofable geolocation Gaming Solution Brief.pdf.

3. In mobile advertising, location-based targeting grew from 22% in 2012 to 31% in 2013. And it was the first year that the industry saw tangible ROI results from proximity marketing campaigns. In this whitepaper from Alliance Data, the results of a pilot program run from Black Friday to Christmas 2012 are shared with findings including that 84% of consumers were comfortable using their phones to communicate with retailers; 60% have no privacy or security concerns; and 68% indicated they would likely sign up for future location-based text messages.

4. Apple launched its iBeacon technology deploying the beacons in 254 U.S. retail stores. An August 2013 research report by Research Moz states that the Global Indoor Location-based Service (LBS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40.05 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing adoption of local area networks.

5. New privacy laws were put in place to better protect consumers and their confidentiality including the DAA and the NAI, who published new data rules to get mobile app developers to provide better notice of data collection and usage to consumers and the TCPA, who set new ground rules for marketing by telephone, fax and SMS.

6. Locaid became the first mobile location company to have a representative on the CTIA's board of directors, proving how critical mobile location has become to the wireless industry. Rip Gerber, President and CEO of Locaid will join the associations' Board of Directors for FY14.

7. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) launched its Location Committee, focused on identifying best practices and creating industry guidelines that all location focused mobile companies should abide by. As a first action, the committee created and produced a Location Terminology Guide providing, for the first time, a common and consistent language and outline of the fundamental technologies, measurements and strategies across the location space to help marketers navigate this complex landscape.

While 2013 was a big year for mobile location, we believe 2014 will bring even more developments and innovation. As the market continues to mature and consumers continue to adopt location-based services, now is the time to add mobile location to your business.