Telecom APIs: Location

API aggregators aggregate several APIs connecting carrier APIs Apps. The main interest groups are API providers and third-party developers. The API aggregator role is gradually gaining momentum within the market as developers create more innovative services, or operator can also provide mash-ups as end-products itself. As a threat, the operator may suffer from a dependency on third-party services, and uncertainty in the provided services and APIs.

Location data is not useful unless it is put into context and provided to the right party at the right time.  This is obviously crucially important for an emergency situation such as dialing 9-1-1.  It is also very important for commercial LBS applications.

It is not enough to simply get the Lat/Long from GPS or terrestrial means such as TDOA.  Location systems must utilize map information and various technologies to put location data into context.

Mapping technologies leverage geographic information systems (GIS).  GIS comprises hardware, software, and data.  The software technology interprets and presents the data to reveal relationships and trending behavior of natural elements.  Critical to usability of the data is the software and hardware chosen to receive queries, analyzes, and presents the relationships.  Presentation formats include, but are not limited to maps, globes, reports, and charts.

We see location management as one of the key API areas for both consumer and enterprise applications.  It is also what we consider a Core API area.

An example of an API Aggregator is LOCAID, who manages API for location data for nearly 350 Million subscribers throughout the region, with represents nearly 75 % of all mobile network subscriptions throughout the region comprising the U.S, Canada and Mexico.

LOC-AID operates what it says is the world’s largest mobile location data gateway, essentially a location aggregation platform for carriers. The platform is designed to help wireless operators such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon deliver location-aware content to their customers faster.

Like other forms of API aggregation, LBS aggregator solutions sit at the intersection of two big needs:

  • That of carriers to unlock the utility and value of the location information inherent in their networks and in which they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars
  • And that of developers to obtain that information quickly and easily, in a way that promotes innovation for the total pool of wireless subscribers.

Part of the business model for location API management/aggregation is location brokering.  Location brokering can be defined purchasing location data from one party (the carriers most predominantly) and selling to others (content and application providers).


The above diagram illustrates an example of location brokering in which the LBS Broker entity effectively purchases location query information form the network operators and sells to others such as who is depicted here in this hypothetical example : StarBucks, Visa, and AAA.

Location is therefore a form of Location as a Service (LaaS), which in many ways is similar to Software as a Service (SaaS) and other forms of third-party managed services. LaaS is a complex derivative of the cloud services concept while being a natural business extension for corporations that have built their operating foundations on GIS, mapping, and navigation.  Location as a Service for mobile requires cloud balancing.  Users move and need access to services as they travel.  If the solution is to work efficiently, it needs to be distributed among many clouds to allow maximum efficiency in resource utilization.

Because of this complexity, and the need to pull together many different resources, we see a particular need for location API management to reside with a centralized authority so as to achieve trust as well as economies of scale and scope.

Telecom Network API Marketplace: Strategy, Ecosystem, Players and Forecasts 2015 – 2020 provides an in-depth assessment of the global Telecom Network API market, including business models, business case, best practices, value chain analysis, operator and vendor strategies, vision for the future of telecom data, and a quantitative assessment of the industry from 2015 to 2020.

About Mind Commerce

Analysis of telecom and ICT infrastructure, technologies, and applications.
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