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The School of Mobile Vol. 2 - The Detail Chapter 3 - Mobile Technology and Solu�ons

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Some thoughts on Mobile and loca�on in the tourism industry:
Loca�on-aware tourism so�ware should be able to be run on any mobile phone. There are a
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number of tour companies that are now ren�ng GPS-enabled devices to their clients, but this is less
than ideal. A successful service not only has to support Symbian, Mobile Windows, RIM, iPhone,
Android and other common opera�ng systems -- it also has to be aware of the widely varying
hardware capabili�es of the phone. Not everyone has a GPS enabled phone, but that doesn’t have
to mean that those people cannot be made loca�on-aware.
In addi�on, travel applica�ons need to take into account the limita�ons of the underlying
technology. GPS is accurate in open spaces, but useless indoors. Less accurate WiFi posi�oning
may be available in heavily built up areas, but won’t help once you get off the beaten path. Cell-ID
(GoogleMaps) is widely available and easy to use, but can’t guarantee accuracy be�er than 1 to
2km. For those travel and tourism companies that control the environment of the travel des�na�on
(hotel, museum, conference centre, etc.), one a�rac�ve op�on would be to install a local network
of Bluetooth beacons which would be visible to almost every modern phone.
(Source: Adapted and edited from a discussion with Dr Stuart Strickland, Strategic Consultant on Loca�on-
Based Technologies and Services, 2009)
An extremely interes�ng project to keep an eye on, and perhaps get involved in with respect to
LBS and tourism, is the ‘YOUSATS’ research project being developed and executed by the Nordic
Innova�on Centre and the Swedish Ins�tute of Computer Science. This project focuses on using
mobile technology for interac�ve nature based tourism explora�on including loca�on-aware games
and apps tailored to younger genera�on tourists. This project is also exploring the integra�on
of tourism and loca�on-based games. Please visit this link to learn more: h�ps://www.sics.se/
projects/yousat.
A perspec�ve on the present and future of Loca�on Based Services (LBS)
Recent innova�on in smartphones has taken LBS from an obscure service provided by carrier-
controlled applica�ons to a feature des�ned to touch prac�cally every modern mobile
applica�on category. As mobile applica�ons move away from the clutches of carrier control
and into pla�orms that embrace independent so�ware developers, such as Apple, RIM, and
Nokia, the poten�al for enhancing user experience using LBS is enormous.
In par�cular, LBS will enable mobile applica�ons to be aware of the users loca�on, which
will add context to an applica�on’s func�on. For example, a real estate applica�on could
use a handset’s loca�on to display local sales lis�ngs. Travel apps like TourSpot use LBS to
show users their loca�on on a live map rela�ve to the points of interest they want to see. In
addi�on, LBS provides loca�on-based search for bars, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and even
mobile coupons.
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