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InfoQ Homepage News Accelerite's Location-as-a-Service API Platform Enables Location-Based Mobile Services

Accelerite's Location-as-a-Service API Platform Enables Location-Based Mobile Services

At this year's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Accelerite announced its new Location-as-a-Service (LaaS) API Platform. The platform enables mobile operators and enterprises that rely on mobile connections to aggregate location information, and react accordingly to situations as they arise.

Accelerite LaaS makes existing business applications "location context-aware" by offering mobile app developers a location API service capable of providing access to the whereabouts of virtually all mobile devices of customers, employees and assets on the operators' networks, in accordance with subscriber privacy notification and consent regulations. The service is device agnostic and even works for basic phones lacking GPS or data connectivity.

Based in India, where smartphones having GPS capability are few, but earlier generation feature phones are prevalent, Accelerite has already acquired a significant footprint: "India's leading automotive manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is integrating the Accelerite LaaS API service throughout India."

At the Mobile World Conference, Jennifer Riggins from ProgrammableWeb spoke with the Accelerite team. She wondered, "Why not just put an Internet of Things sensor on the cards themselves and call it a day?" Because, she found out, "in India, like much of the developing world, most people still only have feature phones--like the offline, nine-button, flip phones we rocked at the turn of the century with their few J2ME Java capabilities. And if they have a smartphone, every megabyte of their data plans is precious."

The Accelerite LaaS Brochure (PDF) provides an overview of the use cases for the LaaS platform. The LaaS API documentation provides the details on how to utilize the Accelerite API. API functions include getting the location (latitude, longitude, altitude) of a specific mobile device, getting consent for bringing a mobile device into the LaaS registry, removing a mobile device from the registry, and updating the data for a mobile device.

Riggins asked the Accelerite team about the future they foresee for LaaS platforms:

India, like much of the world, doesn't have the United State's 9-1-1 or Europe's 1-1-2 mandate. In fact, the emergency number can vary from state to state or even city to city, and--with GPS still having extremely low penetration--there's no centralized way of tracking where these calls came from. With location uncertainty, it can take more than half an hour to find the patient. Accelerite is trying to work with public safety to enable emergency services with location-based context awareness.

The Accelerite team also foresees companies utilizing its API to engineer "location-aware, push SMS, opt-in ad campaigns" for customers who would like to know, for example, when their current location is nearby a store they commonly frequent.

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