Press Coverage

Indian market is very attractive for LBS growth

With the global LBS' revenues expected to surpass $14 billion by 2014, India is among one of the fastest-growing market in APAC. Telecom Frontline spoke to Srinivas Varadarajan, VP (Sales and Business Development-Asia), Polaris Wireless, to know more about their strategies and the future of LBS in India.

With the global LBS' revenues expected to surpass $14 billion by 2014, India is among one of the fastest-growing market in APAC. Telecom Frontline spoke to Srinivas Varadarajan, VP (Sales and Business Development-Asia), Polaris Wireless, to know more about their strategies and the future of LBS in India.

what is the future of the Indian LBS market?

Mumbai-based market research firm Ovum predicts that location-based services (LBS) 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.

What is the market opportunity for Software based LBS application in India?

Market Research firm ABI Research predicts that global LBS' 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 and we look forward to working with local partners to provide location solutions to the market.

What are the challenges in the Indian market?

We are very pleased with both our experience in establishing our Bangalore Centre of Excellence, which facilitates our worldwide operations efforts, and in launching our strategic partnership with Tech Mahindra/CanvasM. We are confident that we have the right resources and relationships to respond to any potential challenges and to take part in the impressive growth of LBS in India.

How unique is LBS in nature compared to other surveillance? What are the technology innovations in software based LBS space?

The key differentiator for our solution is its ability to accurately locate wireless devices without the addition of any hardware in the network (like Triangulation or U-TODOA) or in the handset (like GPS). Our solution is 100% software based. It has always been the policy of Polaris Wireless to protect user location information behind the security of the mobile operator's wireless network. Our solution does not know, and has never, enabled location information to be retained within the mobile device, where it is subject to hacking and other potential compromise.

The core technology is based on RF Pattern Matching (RFPM) which has been standardized at 3GPP.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 inter-operates with additional air interfaces such as Wi-Fi and Wi-Max and is able to scale with network demand to accurately perform up to thousands of location transactions per second.

In summary, the Polaris Wireless solution operates with any telecom infrastructure in India and any device, including the oldest legacy 2G handsets and the most recent 4G devices.
Recently, competitors have been making claims in the India market about the accuracy of wireless location derived from Adaptive Enhanced Cell-ID (AECID), and that it is superior to RFPM. This is not the case. AECID is a low-accuracy solution, which performs incrementally better that CellID, and does not meet the current mandate in India, is not standards-compliant, and is not as time-tested as the Polaris Wireless solution.

How far can Government/security agencies make use of it?

As the global leader in high-accuracy, software-based wireless location solutions, Polaris Wireless is the ideal partner for enabling location-dependent public safety and value added location-based services.

In the decade since Polaris Wireless began offering location technology to wireless operators for emergency call management, numerous lives have been saved as a result of better location accuracy. Similarly, Polaris Wireless location surveillance products are increasingly in demand in Asia, the Middle East/Africa region, and elsewhere, as governments seek to protect their citizens through the use of advanced technology. India is well-positioned to benefit from Polaris Wireless global experience.

How can mobile technology companies take advantage LBS?

We are seeing a significant increase in business from customers who are deploying high-accuracy wireless location solutions for mission critical applications, such as emergency call applications and lawful surveillance.

More than twenty US wireless carriers, six managed services partners, and fourteen international deployments now rely on Polaris Wireless location solutions to enable emergency call applications, lawful surveillance, and other location-based services. Polaris Wireless has over a decade of experiencing in developing high-accuracy, software-based wireless location, and has also actively sought new opportunities in developing markets, which drive much of our growth.

We are winning business away from competitors who cannot provide high-accuracy, software-based wireless location, field-proven and time-tested experience in overseas markets, or the strong legacy of innovation and intellectual property that combined to drive our significant 2011 growth. At the same time, we continue to pioneer bringing wireless location to new markets and have been a leader in expanding opportunities for location based services in high-growth, developing regions such as India.

Elaborate on the location-based application suite for law enforcement.

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.

What are the new technology adoptions in software based LBS solutions?

Polaris Wireless offers the industry's best-performing software-based wireless location solution for operators, government agencies, and application providers. In blind trials in the challenging Bangalore environment, the Polaris Wireless solution located over 70% of calls within 50 meters and over 90% of calls within 100 meters (the DoT mandate is 30% and 60% respectively), proving that Polaris Wireless has best-in-class performance in urban environments.

Polaris Wireless is currently conducting additional field trials with a major Indian wireless network operator to prove compliance with India's Department Of Telecom (DoT) May 2012 mandate, for location determination. The trials are being conducted on 2G and 3G networks in Kolkata and in North East India to demonstrate the effectiveness of Polaris Wireless Location Signatures (Polaris WLSTM) in suburban and rural environments. We will announce trial results soon to prove the achievability of the current DoT mandate.

What are Polaris Wireless expansion plans and roadmap for India?

Polaris Wireless has extended its reach by partnering with key players in the India telecommunications eco-system. The company had announced a partnership with TechMahindra subsidiary CanvasM to serve multiple wireless operators pan India.

We consider the Indian market to be very attractive for LBS growth and are focused on working with partners to deploy our solutions in wireless carrier networks. Once that is done, Indian wireless subscribers will be able to benefit from applications that high-accuracy location enables, such as navigation and location-based advertising. In addition, we hope to work with Indian government agencies to deploy our solutions to enable mission-critical applications such as emergency calling and anti-crime surveillance.

The company also recently expanded its India 'Centre of Excellence' development and operations organization, which was established in 2005 in Bangalore. It is one of two global development centers for our company. The work done here benefits our clients throughout the world. With our growth forecast for 2012 and beyond, we plan to expand our operations in Bangalore and in other parts of India