LBS growth ensuring life security of the people: Srinivas Varadarajan, VP Sales Asia, Polaris Wireless
By Nitesh Sharma - Mon May 21, 12:02 pm
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Prior to joining Polaris Wireless, Varadarajan was the global head of the LBS business unit at Nokia Siemens Networks, where he was responsible for establishing and growing relationships with major telecom operators throughout Asia. He previously was Director of business development for the applications practice in the global services business unit at Motorola. His efforts there were instrumental in expanding the consumer LBS business in Japan and China.
Varadarajan holds a B.S. in electronics and communication from Madurai Kamaraj University in India.
InsightVAS conducts a short interview of him on current scenario of LBS in India. Have a look:
1. Comment on your recently launched mobile location surveillance application ‘Altus Mobile’.
Altus is the industry’s only software-based surveillance solution that enables accurate mass location – providing users the ability to simultaneously locate all subscriber devices in a wireless network in real time and on a historical basis. Altus Mobile allows field agents to simultaneously track suspects on a Smartphone or tablet, and make life-or-death decisions in real time by receiving up-to-date intelligence from headquarters, such as past and current locations of suspects, locations where two or more suspects meet, occasions where suspects enter/exit a restricted area, visualization of suspects’ surroundings by augmented reality, and nearby locations of authorities (police, military, etc.).
Altus Mobile helps field agents be more effective in their anti-crime and anti-terrorism surveillance activities, where real-time intelligence can mean the difference between life and death for both the agent and the citizens he is trying to protect.
2. Comment on Polaris Wireless’ success of completing field trials with a major Indian wireless network operator to prove compliance with India’s Department Of Telecommunications.
We have successfully completed field trials with Indian wireless network operator to prove compliance with India’s Department Of Telecommunications (DoT) May 2011 mandate for location-based systems. The trials were conducted over a period of two weeks in the North East telecom circle of India, at Agartala, to demonstrate the effectiveness of Polaris Wireless Location Signatures (Polaris WLSTM) in urban, suburban and rural environments and remote areas. WLS is based on the 3GPP standardized RF Pattern Matching (RFPM) approach.
A previous trial with another major wireless network operator in Bangalore exceeded the DoT requirements in urban and indoor environments.
3. As demand for smartphones in India is evolving at a rapid pace, what do you think is the future of Location based apps in India?
India is a well-known hub for wireless communications, and is regarded to have the second largest wireless network subscriber base in the world – the future of wireless is taking place here. In order to maximize opportunities and minimize risks, it is imperative that Indian wireless network operators are able to pinpoint the location of mobile devices on their networks as accurately as possible.
Also, we have seen many studies that predict explosive growth of LBS. In this context we feel, consumer services such as mobile marketing will increase and at the same time, enterprise and government uses will also expand rapidly.
4. What is your opinion on introducing ‘location positioning’ by focusing on Mobile Location Centre (MLC), Gateway Mobile Location Centre (GMLC), Serving Mobile Location Centre/Stand-alone SMLC (SAS)?
Polaris Wireless offers the most cost-effective, quickest time-to-market, software-based wireless location solution. The Polaris Wireless location solution is deployed on a standard computer server (inside or outside the wireless network) and requires no hardware additions to the base stations, in contrast with other network-based technologies such as U-TDOA (uplink time-difference-of-arrival), which requires new radio hardware.
Polaris Wireless offers an easily-maintained location solution. The annual maintenance cost for the Polaris Wireless solution is less than the maintenance cost of a U-TDOA solution for a comparably-sized network. Because the Polaris Wireless location solution is software-based, upgrades are easily and cost-effectively implemented in comparison to solutions such as U-TDOA, which require costly and time-consuming physical changes to each base station.
The Polaris Wireless solution is currently supported in 2G GSM and 3G UMTS air interfaces for control plane and user plane (SUPL) implementations using standard interfaces. For 4G LTE, the Polaris Wireless solution is supported in both user and control planes. The Polaris Wireless solution interoperates with additional air interfaces such as WiFi and WiMAX. The Polaris Wireless solution is able to scale with network demand to accurately perform up to thousands of location transactions per second. The Polaris Wireless solution operates with any device, including the oldest legacy 2G handsets and the most recent 4G devices.
5. Explain us about the hurdles LBS providers face in terms of diffusion of these services in rural areas that are of utmost importance to the users comprising points of interest, navigation, locator etc?
The Polaris Wireless location solution is not sensitive to changes in the network, season, or geography, and is thus able to provide consistent high-accuracy location performance in urban, suburban, and rural environments for all wireless devices in the network. According to DoT mandate for remote areas, it specifies accuracy levels of 50 to 70 percent within three years for a range of 300 to 500 meters.
Polaris Wireless has already achieved accuracy levels of 87 to 99 percent in the field trials. It is the first location solutions provider to exceed the DoT mandate in all categories (urban, sub-urban & remote areas), proving the attainability of the mandate thresholds.
6. Comment on the growing importance of Location technology and how PWS solution may potentially help Indian LEAs and intelligence agencies?
Polaris Wireless high-accuracy location enables government agencies to take a major leap forward in their efforts to locate and track known suspected criminals and terrorists. Our Altus application suite offers capabilities such as tracking, geo-fencing, mass analytics etc. to meet the mission-critical needs of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, Indian LEAs and intelligence agencies can create a custom geo-fenced area and receive alerts when designated targets enter or exit the geo-fence.
With this capability, intelligence agencies and LEAs can protect sensitive buildings and other facilities from attack by terrorists or other criminals.
7. Comment on the market opportunity for software based LBS applications in India, focusing on public safety and assisting government’s security policies (e.g. Tracking Terrorists)? How these services can help administration in making an informed and safe society?
In addition to consumer services, we are seeing location as a critical enabler for safety-of-life applications such as locating emergency callers, surveillance to combat crime, and enterprise applications such as asset tracking and machine-to-machine location. Location technology is in use today in the health industry (tracking Alzheimer’s patients and organs for transplant), postal services (delivery vehicle fleet management), and judicial services (bracelet monitoring of criminals). We expect all these uses and many others to grow in the future. The increased adoption by Indian consumers of location-enabled applications, such as navigation, familiarizes the marketplace with the benefits of high-accuracy location and establishes a foundation for the growth of LBS. Almost any application can benefit from the addition of high-accuracy location.
Polaris Wireless high-accuracy location enables government agencies to take a major leap forward in their efforts to locate and track known and suspected criminals and terrorists. Our Altus application suite offers capabilities such as tracking, geo-fencing, mass analytics etc. to meet the mission-critical needs of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, Indian LEAs and intelligence agencies can create a custom geo-fenced area and receive alerts when designated targets enter or exit the geo-fence. With this capability, intelligence agencies and LEAs can protect sensitive buildings and other facilities from attack by terrorists or other criminals.
8. Market estimates predict that LBS sector is expected to grow at a rate of 80% annually due to 3G roll out. Your opinion?
In my opinion, this 80% annual growth in 3G connections due to 3G roll out will attract the interest from high-value early adopters, such as working professionals and the burgeoning youth sector, which is expected to grow to about 150 million subscribers in 2012. Other research firms are predicting similar growth, so we are very excited to be entering the India market at this point of time.
9. According to a survey conducted by NAVTEQ-TNS, over 50% of Indian women feel confident with navigation devices on roads. Do you see this change in consumer behavior a good omen for LBS growth in future?
That is true and it’s not only about women being secure, but also about their children. According to TNS Global Market Research, 4 out of 5 women have indicated that they feel more secure when travelling with a navigation device or app. Parents get worried when their children are not at home or have gone somewhere to play but because of family finder they can easily track their children. Navigation devices have changed the whole scenario of consumer behavior and LBS growth has the ability to secure the life of people, which is definitely a good omen.
We have seen similar research that indicates other demographics are also embracing LBS in India. Mumbai-based market research firm Ovum predicts that location-based services in India will grow significantly, bolstered by 80% annual growth in 3G connections over the next five years, and interest from high-value early adopters, such as working professionals and the burgeoning youth sector, which is expected to grow to about 150 million subscribers in 2012. Other research firms are predicting similar growth, so we are very excited to be entering the India market at this time.
10. Polaris Wireless has recently indulged in partnership with CanvasM for LBS service in India. How fruitful have this alliance proved for you? What expectations do you hold ahead of this association?
Our partnership with CanvasM will enable us to utilize their skilled personnel and resources for projects inside and outside India, including the Middle East and Africa. The global reach and expertise of India partners is a key component for our growth strategy.
As CanvasM has been in India for a number of years, they have been embedded into most of the networks and so they know the networks very well. So with their knowledge of networks and now with the knowledge of their technology and products, it will be a perfect combination. And so it will be a deployment, where they will tell in advance what the issues/requirements are because each network is different obviously and have extensive operations.
11. How location infrastructure can enable revenue-generating value from location based services (LBS) besides providing safety and security?
Market Research firm ABI Research predicts that global Location Based Services revenues will surpass $14 billion by 2014. Rising levels of urbanization and wealth are a prime driver for LBS penetration in developing markets such as Asia-Pacific. India is considered to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the region.
As the market estimates predict that LBS sector is expected to grow at a rate of 80% annually due to 3G roll out it will surely lead to a growth in LBS sector. Indian telecom operators can foresee wide opportunities in terms of revenue generation once applications such as family/friend finder, location based advertisements, fleet management, asset tracking, road traffic information are deployed with LBS.
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