The Power of Babble: Congregating around LBS This article originally appeared in Geospatial Solutions Magazine's Net Results column of February 1, 2001. Other Net Results articles about the role of emerging technologies in the exchange of spatial information are also online.

1. Introduction and Glossary   2. World Market   3. US Market   4. Future of LBS   5. Place in the Choir

And on the eighth day . . .

Will LBS deliver the returns that all of these powerful and innovative companies hope for? Literally half the people in our world, most in less affluent countries, have never used a telephone. In the next 10 years, though, many of these same people will discover wireless infrastructures as cellular deployment leapfrogs over the normal stages of development of wired telephony.

Naturally, few if any analysts predict that the wireless market will shrink -- it won't. They are mainly interested in location and timing. The Strategis Group (, for instance, forecasts that China's cellular/PCS market will overtake that of the United States and Japan by 2004. In 2000, there were four million worldwide shipments of cellular handsets with embedded GPS. Estimates are that 38.5 million will be shipped by 2003. Common forecasts for GSM subscriber totals by 2005 are one billion users. Strategis Group estimates that the wireless location services industry in Europe alone will be worth more than $80 billion by 2010. Strategy Analytics (www.strategy expects global wireless data revenues to reach some $450 billion by 2010, with entertainment applications returning more revenue than messaging-oriented services.

Awe-inspiring and impressive numbers, but what should we do with them? Maybe now, while others are hypnotized by statistics, is a good time for geospatial companies to consider where they fit into the mobile world of the future, to avoid the commoditized segments of the market, and to watch for more lucrative opportunities in integration, training, and consulting. Meanwhile, we'll all keep walking and talking.

1. Introduction and Glossary   2. World Market   3. US Market   4. Future of LBS   5. Place in the Choir