One of the most significant challenge in implementing LBS (location based service) in India is the lack of cell-id information and the closed walled garden approach of operators towards the same.
Loc8.in, a Bangalore based startup is taking a radically different approach for LBS and enables developers to build location based apps using its API.
The startup boasts of significantly large collection of location data (for urban as well as rural areas) and provides following services:
- Exact location based on cell-tower ID
- POI from location found using cell-tower ID or GPS
At the face of it, this looks very interesting – an API like this can give birth to a lot of LBS ideas (Foursquare anyone?). Having said that, Google too has opened up the Cell-id information for almost 150,000 towers (data almost a year back) that was obtained using Google maps application.
The bigger question for Loc8 is whether they are in content business or platform business? I asked the team and as per them, it is content through platform.
The team has been building the content and platform for almost a year and will make both available for free. Business model revolves around premium sponsorship [think of this as adsense for LBS] and hence, the platform will grow owing to the marketplace creation status it will enjoy.
At this stage, I am not so sure about the monetization piece – advertising doesn’t pay as much as what the content can. But it’s still early days for LBS in India and expect interesting apps/services in the coming days.
The API is currently in closed beta, but the team has shared 50 free invites for developers who want to try out loc8 [use the invite code ‘PLUGGDIN’].
What’s your take on Loc8?