Mobile & Wireless Communications

Focused-Based Services (FBS): The Next Generation of LBS?

by Brent Iadarola 30 Dec 2011
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Focused-Based Services (FBS) are an emerging mobile category that will play a significant role in the next generation of location-based services (LBS). FBS are delivered based on what the user is looking at in real-time versus simply where the user is (location). In contrast to augmented reality, which combines location and mobile Internet search to provide information on landmarks in static environments, FBS enables the tracking and tagging of objects (or individuals) in moving or dynamic environments.

In simple terms, FBS leverage an assortment of advanced location determination technologies to enable mobile users to point their phones at moving objects or people to access real-time information about their subject of interest. This information may include real time data, statistics, or user reviews of the subject (whether a physical or human asset) and clearly presents some very unique and lucrative avenues for hyper-targeted marketing promotions, advertising, and mobile coupons.

Frost & Sullivan believes the initial traction of FBS is likely to occur in arenas or stadiums that support live events, as these venues can provide immediate revenue generating opportunities for mobile advertisers. For example, a mobile user attending a sporting event may focus his camera phone on a particular player for a photo, video, or tweet. The player’s sponsor might want the user to see ads for their products in the form of an enhanced augmented-reality overlay. A hyper-targeted mobile advertising or discount could then be sent directly to the user’s device where a real-time transaction can occur. Advertisers, teams, or event organizers can build a variety of unique value-added benefits beyond simply advertising, such as providing real time player or team statistics when a user focuses on a given player or object in the venue.

A powerful analytics platform will be a critical element of the FBS ecosystem to enable marketers and sponsors to best position ads for real-time shifts in crowd momentum and user engagement behaviors. Jon Fisher, CEO of CrowdOptic, a pioneer in the FBS space, explains, “If one asset is being viewed five times more, you can charge five times more. In a baseball game, for example, you might think a banner behind home plate is the best asset, but what’s the second or third best asset? We can validate that data,” Fisher says. “It’s a whole new advertising form.”

The concept of FBS will likely evolve beyond sporting events and into a variety of environments that inherently have large mobile crowd-sourcing traffic (i.e. metropolitan areas, theme parks, airports, shopping malls, tourist sites, subways etc). FBS represent the convergence of location based services, augmented reality, and mobile advertising and should be considered an attractive growth opportunity for a variety of market participants in the mobile & wireless space.

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