The world’s three largest mobile phone manufacturers have set up a forum to develop global interoperability between mobile positioning systems. Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia have founded the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) to allow mobile users to receive services based on their geographic location.
“We believe this has great commercial potential,” says Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president of Nokia Mobile Phones. “A user can review the menus of nearby restaurants over WAP, receive advertising according to personalized profiles or find out if there are any friends around in town. In addition to lifestyle services, location information also plays a significant role in public safety and emergency services.”
Mobile positioning systems currently lack interoperability. The aim of LIF is to produce a common view. LIF will define simple and secure methods which will enable entry to location information irrespective of underlying air interface technologies and positioning methods. It will also give recommendations about how location services can best be implemented.
The first applications based on the LIF recommendations are expected to be available in 2001. The LIF members anticipate that location-based services will roll out both in second generation as well as third generation networks and terminals.
“Standardizing wireless networks is necessary for personalized safety and convenience services,” said Janiece Webb, senior vice president of Motorola’s personal networks group. “We strive for an environment in which services and conveniences really follow wherever you go.”
“Being both personalized and location-specific, location-based services are emerging as some of the most valuable functions of the mobile Internet,” says Stig Rune Johansson, vice president in the mobile systems division at Ericsson. “LIF will contribute to open standards for mobile location services that are independent of air interfaces, terminals, applications or supplier.”
The forum seeks representation from a mix of network operators, equipment manufacturers and service providers.
Johansson concluded: “The greatest benefits of mobile Internet can only fully be enjoyed when location information is combined with mobility. This consortium will make it possible to offer consumers personalized and lifestyle oriented services. Open interfaces act as a catalyst for the growth of the mobile information society.”