L4 Mobile, a new company licensing location-based mobile content technology from Israeli firm CT Motion, is seeking Web developers to apply Web applications to SMS and WAP messaging to create location-based services.
Grant Boydell, managing director of L4 Mobile, has licensed a location-server technology for distribution in Australia, that enables applications to take advantage of mobile users' locations.
"These applications would be very appealing to companies that need to better manage a service or delivery workforce, where the management of the geographical position of the worker can improve the business," he said. "It's for anybody who wants to manage a mobile workforce."
L4 Mobile is offering application developers a tool-kit with the application program interfaces (APIs) for developing mobile applications that can determine the location of a user. "It would appeal to those who have already developed a Web application and want to mobile-enable it," he said.
Boydell is looking for developers with ActiveX skills that are familiar with using Microsoft COM objects in an NT environment. L4 Mobile then provides the location server, the map server and the rules engine for the management of the communication.
Convincing the carriers
Boydell believes there are not enough mobile applications in the market as the major carriers are convinced the available technology is not advanced enough to offer anything other than information-based services like news and horoscopes.
"The carriers say they aren't interested in applications like this until we get better mobile bandwidth, but using binary SMS or WAP, a lot can already be done today, so why wait?," he said. "The reason these technologies aren't popular is because information-based applications aren't compelling enough for people to be prepared to pay for them. People won't pay unless they get genuine interactivity."
L4 Mobile is currently in the process of negotiating with some potential carriers and Boydell expects a trial service to begin in January. L4 will then gain revenues from air-time because to access these applications, users will have to come through the L4 gateway, and L4 will then take a licensing fee from the carrier.
Boydell believes there is an unnecessary level of fear in the marketplace over location-based services, suggesting the anxiety over being "spammed" with content according to your location is unwarranted.
"It's obviously an opt-in, opt-out situation," he said. "It's not about volume marketing, but targeted marketing. Random marketing like spam over this medium would be too expensive anyway."
Boydell instead points to the potential benefit of this technology to businesses with a close community such as frequent flyer schemes, road service associations or even a local football club.