Location-Based Advertising Becoming Reality

Loc-Aid Technologies is expected to announce today that it has signed agreements with several North American carriers to aggregate location-based data across networks. The deal will enable brands to target advertisements, coupons and product information to consumers.

The inability to aggregate the data across carriers has been the biggest barrier to successfully targeting advertisements and providing services such as weather alerts. Loc-Aid has been working with wireless carriers to connect their networks and query location information from subscribers.

Much of the wireless industry's advancements have focused on small breakthroughs made for specific devices or platforms from Apple or Google, as well as from carrier applications as part of location-based initiatives. While each development makes small advances, they don't completely solve the problem.

Loc-Aid aims to do this by relying on a host of technologies and the ability to aggregate data across carriers. The company packages the latitude and the longitude of subscriber location, so companies serving up the information can read and process it.

Today, weather, traffic, advertising and other services relying on location information are made possible through triangulation, cell-sector ID and GPS technologies. This year, Loc-Aid plans to add location information from radio frequency identification (RFID), near field communication (NFC), and Wi-Fi technologies.

"Imagine you call 411 on your cell phone looking for a telephone number," said Isaias Sudit, CEO, Loc-Aid. "You will no longer have to give your city and state, because the technology already knows where you are located."

Sudit said the agreement with carriers gives Loc-Aid permission to access their networks, but the company must comply with several privacy and security features. A privacy framework has been built on the infrastructure to protect the data going through the network.

Industry analyst firm ABI Research projects the LBS market will reach $13.3 billion by 2013, up from $515 million in 2007.

"Location-based technology will allow advertisers to send consumers the correct advertisements, which in turn will raise CPMs and CPCs," Sudit said.

Several mobile advertising trials in the works could turn into deployments during the second half of this year, Sudit said. Although he declined to divulge company names, he said his company is working with several major advertising agencies and well-known brand names.

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