BT today announced the launch of a Location Based Service (LBS) solution to help organisations with a large field service operation or mobile workforce to better manage the deployment of resources, improve customer service, and contribute to a safer working environment for lone workers.
Using location-based tracking technology, the service allows organisations across a broad range of sectors including transport, utilities, government, education, healthcare and finance, to identify an individuals location as long as they are carrying a GPS-enabled handset, mobile phone or PDA. The service also provides lone workers such as health visitors or security staff with greater levels of safety by issuing lone workers with a combined identity card and mobile communicator which includes a panic button.
Following a distribution agreement with LBS technology provider Mapflow, BT Wholesale will offer Mapflows LocationAgent platform as a managed service to mobile operators and internet service providers to fully brand as their own LBS product.
In providing LBS as a value added service to their customers, mobile operators and internet service providers can retain and grow their customer base, while the increased usage of voice and data networks provided by an LBS service will potentially allow operators and service providers to increase their average revenue per subscriber.
Andy Tipping, general manager, BT Contact venture, BT Wholesale said: The creation of an LBS offering allows BT to meet the rising demand from large organisations and SMEs for location based services. LBS is a compelling proposition for mobile operators and ISPs seeking to create new revenue streams from the introduction of differentiated services such as mapping and personalised information services.
Mapflows proven expertise in tracking, location and mapping solutions and BTs rich heritage in delivering voice and data communications services, means that together, we are ideally placed to deliver an LBS offering to mobile operators and ISPs.
Mapflows LocationAgent allows organisations to track the position of remote workers or vehicles on an online map and compare their current position with critical destination points such as customer delivery addresses. Users of the service are able to register to receive alerts based on specific business relevant events; for example, when a remote worker approaches or leaves a given destination.
By continuously monitoring the movement of individual remote workers and the deployment of fleet vehicles, organisations can realise greater efficiencies in resource management, prioritise tasks and keep customers better informed around expected delivery times. This translates into clear benefits for the organisation, including reduced costs and increased levels of customer satisfaction.
The steady rise in the number of lone and mobile workers in the UK has generated growing concern about their personal safety while they are on duty. Organisations are required to provide adequate levels of care and safety for any worker that regularly finds themselves working in isolation, in hazardous conditions or may be vulnerable to the threat of physical and verbal abuse during their working day.
LocationAgent allows employers to provide a greater level of safety for lone workers by providing an alert function which, when activated by the lone worker, sends an SMS message direct to a colleague or to a monitoring centre. The colleague or monitoring centre can then decide the appropriate response to assist the employee, such as calling the emergency services.
Each user is provided with an everyday ID cardholder that uses mobile phone technology to allow the lone worker to open a call or trigger an SMS message discreetly should a dangerous situation arise. The device can also set up a voice call to the monitoring centre so that any conversation can be recorded and used as evidence in court.
Richard Bryce, Mapflow CEO said, Through BT, the practical benefits of LocationAgent will be made available to a worldwide market of mainstream business and consumer users. This will clearly boost our global presence and significantly accelerate our business as the LBS market takes off.
A variety of LBS products are available from BT Wholesale which are mobile network independent. A bespoke LBS offering is available for larger enterprises and organisations, with BT Wholesale offering an integration service to deliver a tailored service to meet the specific needs of the customers operation. A web-based self-service portal is also available to consumers and SMEs to discover, request and use the service functions of LocationAgent. In addition, BT Wholesale will provide access to raw data for application service providers (ASPs) looking to incorporate location co-ordinates or mapping information into their applications.