A few weeks ago, I first heard the term "Location Insight Services," or LIS, from Telco 2.0’s recent research. LIS basically take location-based services (LBS) to the next step. Location-based services involve tracking your cell phone, for instance (with your consent). Mobile service providers can determine your whereabouts and know where your phone is because of the tower it’s connected to or because of GPS. We have customers that have created and deployed “Family Tracker” and “Fleet Tracker” solutions, for instance. And we also have customers who developed solutions that verify your whereabouts if you are using a credit card in a different location.

LIS is interesting. Look at the “big data” that can be derived from mobile phone locations. When I first heard of this, I immediately thought of the map app on my phone and how I can look ahead on a route to see if there is “red,” or congestion on that route. For me and other road warriors who travel a lot on the New Jersey Turnpike, this can save literally hours if the Turnpike is having a bad day.  This would be what the Telco 2.0 people call “Place” Location Insight Services – i.e., see what is going on in a particular place. Or, maybe a new restaurant would want to send ads to people who have opted in to receive promotional notifications when they come within a set distance of the restaurant. Another potential insight from this type of data set would be recognizing how many people walk an alternate route to and from a train station, leading to a decision to put a coffee shop along the way. 

There would also be another type called “Person” Location Insight Services – i.e., see where your phone goes and when to see if there can be something derived from that.  I may have to opt in to participate, but if my carrier knows the kinds of coffee I like or restaurants I go to, then maybe I could receive ads when I travel to a different city. Or a competitor could decide to target my discretionary coffee spending money.

This trend is all about yielding new revenue. In the case of the ads, the service provider could obtain ad revenue from the restaurant or from the organization that asked for the “big data.”  But I’m sure there would be many other kinds of LIS services that could spring up. The mobile carriers need to think beyond voice and data plans to enable this kind of revenue stream. 

Want to learn more about what’s happening with location-based services? Read about how the wireless operator Claro deployed a family locator service for its Central American subscribers here.