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The first step in personalisation is localisation

By [email protected] - 30th June 2010 - 08:54

Mobile services in recent years have expanded to include a full array of services that go beyond voice, such as messaging, browsing, video, social networking and much more. The evolution of mobile technologies, combined with human thirst to interact and consume information locally, have made it clear that the proliferation of mobile location-based services is just around the corner. This article discusses the importance of access to personalised local content that reflects the geographical and cultural characteristics of the immediate living environment.
The recent explosion of mobile applications and the influx of smartphones into the market present the mobile communications industry with its biggest break-through opportunity around its non-voice offerings. However, consumer expectations of mobile services and applications have changed and services that are based on a âone size fits allâ model no longer stack up. Therefore, the industry is heralding personalisation as the saviour and it is widely anticipated that personalisation holds the key to reducing churn and increasing the use and reach of mobile services and applications. For location based services the story is not different and personalisation is key to success. The evolution of mobile technologies, combined with the human desire to interact and consume information locally makes it clear that the proliferation of mobile location-based services is just around the corner. Enabling consumers to search for a specific destination, receive turn by turn directions, but at the same time suggest the best local hot spots, events or shops, based on that individualâs likes and dislikes creates a truly compelling service and experience.While many of the major players in the location-based services space view consumers as âpeople of the worldâ and offer the same services whether users are in Manchester or Mumbai, it must not be forgotten that at the end of the day we are all local creatures. We interact on a local scale, in our country, our city and our own neighbourhoods. Despite many of our daily interactions, both socially and professionally, being conducted online, on the phone, in the mail or face to face, many of us have the desire to interact with others in the most local way possible, with the person on the other side speaking our language and understanding our culture, no matter which way we choose to communicate. Location and localisation go hand in hand. To truly personalise the end user experience we must localise the service so the information they consume is truly useful and relevant for them. To put it into context , if I am, for example, looking for a summer festival to attend over the bank holiday weekend, and want to get information about the festivals happening within my own city, or neighbouring cities, festivals happening across Europe are not relevant to me at that moment; neither are those happening on the other side of my own country. I want to know, at the touch of a few buttons, whatâs happening in the areas that I know, that I can easily travel to. A special location-enabled widget that notifies me when I enter the congestion zone in London and enables in-application, one-click payment of the congestion zone toll is extremely relevant to a Londoner. It is not at all relevant to a New Yorker on business travel in London who would be interested, for example, in a great location-aware Zagat widget that will make it easy for them to choose, suggest, share and navigate to a nearby top-rated restaurant for a client-lunch. As previously mentioned, âone-size-fits-allâ solutions like Googleâs and Nokiaâs aim at providing an identical solution all over the world; in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America. These solutions however, cannot provide a fully personalised and localised user experience. In order to provide this level of experience the solution should take into account specific geographical and cultural characteristics of each individual market, giving the user access to relevant local content thatâs relevant to their immediate living environment.No one understands mobile users like mobile operators. Operators have nurtured long standing loyal relationships with their subscribers and have expert knowledge of their preferences. They may be huge organisations, but they are also locally based and are in the ultimate position to deliver the best possible mobile experience to each individual consumer. As the mobile location market becomes more and more competitive, operators are turning their attention to delivering the paramount location based service and more and more of them are offering these services for free. The services operators provide their subscribers directly reflect on their brand. As a result, they care about quality of service and work only with the location-based solutions, content providers and local brands that are best in their field, have extensive local knowledge and maximal coverage of their respective markets. In turn, this enables the operators to provide a truly differentiated and compelling product, differentiated through localisation.Orange in France is a great example of an operator using its subscriber knowledge to provide a truly localised and personalised location service. Orange Maps in France, a service based on Telmapâs white label search, mapping and navigation solution, delivers real-time local traffic and speed camera information and gives users access to NavX Gas (gas station prices) and NavX Parking (for local parking availability). In addition Orange Maps offers users access to Champerard Guide (for local restaurant reviews), 118 Yellow Pages for people search and 118 White Pages (for local business search). Another feature of the service that is specific to Parisians is access to Velib, Parisâ bike transit system; easy to search for and navigate to the nearest Velib station. The result for Orange subscribers in France is a convenient, best-in-class, âmust-have â canât-live-withoutâ service thatâs superior to anything else available to them. It is personalised to their needs, but localised to make it relevant each and every time they use the service. Itâs a service thatâs readily available right on the majority of handsets, making peopleâs on-the-go lives easier. Plus it is delivered by a trusted provider that the consumer has an established, long-term relationship with.

Author: Motti Kushnir

Bio.: CMO Telmap, Telmap

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