A new dimension to smart cities
Round-the-clock safety for women, uninterrupted traffic flow, efficient and prompt crisis management systems are the major benefits of location-based services
The contribution of locationbased services (LBS) can never be over emphasised in the context of the 100 smart cities that India envisages. LBS is an enabler in the critical areas of urban development like transport, safety and security, general utility and location-based advertising. Perhaps its biggest contribution is in the domain of public safety.
The first prerequisite of a modern city is around-the-clock safety for women and the bouquet of offerings under LBS helps in achieving this fundamental criteria, says a report titled Location Based Services: Adding Another Dimension to Smart Cities by FICCI and PwC.
On a typical day a woman travels to her place of work, or to malls and markets via different modes of transport, sometimes at late hours. LBS will make it possible for her family to track her journey by entering her phone number in its master database and sharing it with them. In case of a detour of her normal route the family members are alerted by a text message. There is a mechanism in place to prevent mishaps – in case of major or abrupt deviations from the route, an alarm will be triggered and access to her data will be provided to the city command and control centre on a GIS platform.
LBS can also be leveraged for improvising the transport network of a city and improve the last mile connectivity for people. In the events of traffic congestions and jams, location based data captured from user mobiles can be used to trigger alerts at city command control centres. Payments at toll points can be made easier through digital wallets, says the report.
At present the most popular application of LBS is targeted and customised advertising. Relevant services can be pushed to user mobiles to improve experience. It is being used for targeted advertising by an increasing number of service providers. When a user enters an area, geo-fencing gets activated and nearby marketers can push their offers to potential users. Offers can also be pushed on the basis of past shopping history and preferences.
Therefore, relevant information can be supplied to the right user at the right time. LBS can open up new revenue streams for telecom operators, marketers, businesses and advertisers.
LBS can also effectively be used for handling public emergencies by proactively informing concerned departments to take corrective actions on time. Mobile based LBS is growing at a rapid pace. With the use of GIS spatial data, location intelligence and other technologies, various LBS or applications can be provided to citizens.
Finally, it is important to understand that LBS is a connecting platform for business and entrepreneurial ventures. It provides an innovative way for governments, businesses, advertisers, telecom operators and citizens to connect with one another and utilise each other’s location data to facilitate better planning, service offerings and analysis.
Consider an illustrative scenario wherin an entrepreneur wants to set up a new business venture in the leisure sector targeted at youngsters and working professionals.
This can be done by various approaches and computer modelling programmes. However, with recent advances in technology, site selection has transformed from an intutive art to a nuanced science. Entrepreneurs can now leverage LBS along with analytics to understand the demographics, citizen mix, trends, behaviours, footfalls etc to identify the most profitable business sites.
Once a site is identified, the entrepreneur can use LBS to locate the nearest government authority for taking requisite licenses and clerances. He can also use the system to identify nearby suppliers and vendors for his business in order to save on logistics cost and prevent unnecessary delays.