LBS LATAM – The First Location Based Services Conference for Latin America in Miami – 09/17 Miami, FL
Metaplaces – How to Monetize Location Data and Services 09/22-23 San Jose CA

Almost a year ago in my first post, I wrote that Location Based Services are the company’s effort to transform geographical positioning information into valuable and relevant data for a customer, to make a profit. Since then I had the opportunity to talk, work and advise leading companies in the industry regarding new products and services in the LBS arena.

LBS are very similar to other businesses in the sense that in order to succeed you need a solid revenue model and a clear value proposition. Sounds simple; but when approaching the LBS market and trying to understand the dynamics of its Value Chain the troubles begin. Many companies are getting this right and are already making profits. Others try to migrate WEB2.0 applications to the mobile world and discover later that in this environment “Free” is an expensive term. No wonder VCs usually look at maps as a feature and not something to build a whole application around.

That’s why I was glad to know about the TheWhereBusiness initiative to organize Metaplaces. I spoke with one of the main persons behind this effort, Thomas Hallauer, who mentioned that MetaPlaces will be the key place for the enablers of the Location market where key thinkers and players swap strategies to make location pay. MetaPlaces is the first conference to focus on the next wave of innovation and revenue generation for mobile and web-based LBS.

When I asked Thomas who is coming and what are their expectations he said “…over 150 location business developers are coming to MetaPlaces to analyze the changing dynamics and revenue models of the LBS market now that the worlds of location content, interactive advertising, Geo enabled web services, and traditional carrier-driven mobile LBS solutions have collided…”

As part of my contribution to their efforts I’ll be moderating the Location Based Social Networks panel composed by Abaqus, Alcatel-Lucent, Loopt, Skout, and Socialight. We’ll have the opportunity to talk about topics like: revenue business models, how to build a community from scratch, how to use existing ones, and how brands can monetize their mobile extension. What would YOU ask those companies? I urge you to add your questions here as comments – I promise to bring back some answers.

The second conference is LBS LATAM in Miami. For many years I worked in the telecommunications market in Latin America and when the Frecuencia Group asked me to chair this event it put together my past and my present in something I see as the future.

Not many people know that the penetration of mobiles phones in Latin America is around 80% and in some countries in the territory over 100%. America Movil (Telmex) and Telefonica Movistar share around 65% of market, meaning almost 10% market share of the whole world mobile market! Besides the traditional fleet management and AVL applications, we start seeing Location Based Services made in CALA i.e. Location Based Social Networks, Friend Finders, Bus routes notifications, and others. However, this is a completely different market with particular value chains and different user profiles in terms of usage and consuming behavior in each country.

I was surprised by the response in terms of registration from the region and vendors interested in this market. You can see companies like Telefonica, Globalstar, Nextel, Ancel, Tele Atlas, OpenWave, AnyData, Position Logic, Xtify, and many others coming to meet their prospect Latin American partners.

Two busy weeks, two chances to meet key executives in different regions, two coasts, and two events with many opportunities to talk business. That’s why you can’t miss them.