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Home arrow Articles arrow Mobile GIS, GPS and Location Services (LBS) arrow The 2006 Global LBS Challenge Kicks Off at CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment     

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The 2006 Global LBS Challenge Kicks Off at CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Letham (GISuser editor)   
03 October 2005
Recently at the CTIA Wireless IT & entertainment conference in San Francisco, CA. Navteq and sponsors kicked off the 2005/2006 Global LBS Challenge. What makes this year’s event special is the “doubling” of the challenge to include a North American and European challenge. To entice developers, Navteq is putting up more than $800,000 in cash and prizes with the grand prize winner taking home $50k cash and $100k in data licenses.

At the Challenge kick-off, Winston Guillory, senior VP of Navteq welcomed the crowd and provided a short state-of the-industry recap of the location-based services market. Guillory noted how LBS have matured and that as a result, Navteq is now serving some 7 billion maps and route planning transactions annually. Customers are from every corner of the business market and include such names as Fed-Ex and UPS to name a few. He noted that in North America there are now roughly 10 cellular GPS solutions available to customers and that leading carrier Sprint/Nextel has provided a big boost to the market with their clever and aggressive marketing of LBS to their customers. Drivers of LBS include:

  • Availability of Location technologies
  • Memory capacity
  • Device convergence
  • Robust mobile platforms

Market drivers such as robust developer tools and the commercialization of applications have made this the right time to issue an LBS Challenge! For the first time, this year there will be 2 challenges with separate prizes and separate winners. Each LBS Challenge will see creative and hot applications showcased and offered to carriers – note: members from leading wireless carriers make up the panel of judges. A big carrot to developers considering taking up the LBS Challenge is the access to these carrier reps, additionally, representatives from venture capital firms will also be in attendance. Perhaps the biggest benefit though is the fact an application that wins in any given category is essentially getting a stamp of approval and validation from the industry… this is huge!

Panel of Judges

This past spring at CTIA Wireless in New Orleans, representatives from leading wireless carriers, mobile device manufacturers, and other leading wireless businesses made up a panel of judges in the LBS Challenge. Once again, an esteemed panel of judges has been put together to judge the 2006 LBS Challenge. Representatives on the panel come from all segments of the LBS value chain and include a group that is dedicated to making a large commitment of their time. Four judges are once again returning, with panel made up of representatives from the following companies:
Battery Ventures, Hatch Ventures, Nokia, Sprint/Nextel, US Cellular, Yankee Group, Verizon, and Bell Canada.

Panel of judges for the 2006 LBS Challenge

The judges will select applications in 4 categories, winning applications being chosen based on excellence in utility and usability. With upwards of 200 applications likely expected to be entered in the Challenge, the first round of judging will serve to whittle the group down to a manageable number of semi-finalists grouped into the 4 categories:
- Business applications
- Entertainment & Leisure
- Navigation
- Social Networking

Created in 2003, the LBS Challenge has served to provide validation to the ideas of numerous developers and served as a forum to showcase excellence in LBS solutions. The challenge stimulates the proliferation of location-services by bringing together leaders in the mobile arena… this year the LBS Challenge will divide and conquer by expanding to include a North American and European Challenge. Some key dates follow:
- registration ends December 2, 2005
- registration forms must be received by December, 9, 2005
- application entries must be submitted by January 27, 2006 (North America)
- application entries must be submitted by December 22, 2005 (Europe)
- application submissions must be received by Feb 3, 2006
- Winners in European challenge to be announced Feb 13-16, 2006 at 3GSM Congress, Barcelona, Spain.
- Winners of North American Challenge to be announced at CTIA Wireless, April 5-7, 2006 in Las Vegas, NV. Official judging, April 3-4, 2006.

The LBS Challenge is sponsored by a group of companies all of whom offer location enabling solutions and mobile platforms. Developers are encouraged to take advantage of tools and resources offered by these sponsoring companies. Some of the enabling solutions that will be used include:


Telcontar Drill Down Server - Telcontar powers the one of the most cutting-edge location-based services provided by the world's best-known Internet and wireless companies, including Ask Jeeves, Google, Motorola Viamoto, TeleNav and Yahoo!. As part of the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge, Telcontar will provide http://www.telcontar.com/developers

ESRI ArcWeb Services - ArcWeb Services offer wireless developers access to rich content and functionality through SOAP Web services. ArcWeb Services are hosted by ESRI and include more than fifty-five programming objects with access to over 150 data sets. http://www.esri.com/lbschallenge.com

Networks in Motion NAVBuilder – NAVBuilder(TM) enables developers to enhance their applications with location-based features including navigation, local directories, maps, directions, and more. NAVBuilder offers a BREW extension or J2ME library for mobile applications, and a WEB interface for location-enabling web applications. NIM supports developers with carrier-grade network infrastructure and available premium training and support. Contestants can sign-up to use NIM's NAVBuilder tools at: http://www.networksinmotion.com/products/navbuilder.html

Nokia – C++ and Java development tools available via forum.nokia.com and through various Symbian OS APIs. LBS applications are supported across Nokia platforms via JSR-179, the Location API for the Java(TM) 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME(TM)). A separate collection of native APIs is provided for Series 60 and Series 80 phones, to enable native applications to utilize location features

Each of the sponsoring companies maintains a developer program and offers tools, documentation, and many other resources to developers that wish to build their LBS applications using their solutions.

Jumpstarting LBS… developers are encouraged to submit their non-commercial applications to the Challenge. The competition will be heated once again as more than 80 developers have already registered! $800k in cash and prizes are waiting, however, the big prize is likely the recognition and validation that the winner will receive from the industry…winning the LBS Challenge is truly the stamp of approval that will launch a developer on his way. Andrew Graham, CEO of BIM – last year’s LBS Challenge winner - has noted that validation was the big prize. Numerous opportunities for funding have arisen; they’ve established many partnerships and validated partnerships that already existed.

Some Successes spawned out of the LBS Challenge to date:
3 developers integral in a carrier launch
One company embedded into Nextel device
1 company featured on a Canadian deck

VC's are interested in LBS and the interest is Global. Consumer and enterprise applications are in demand while the anabling technologies are now in place. The mobile handset(terminal) is viewed as the 3rd screen and heightened consumer demand for location-enabled applications and services is at an all time high. Do you have what it takes? You'll never know unless you enter the LBS Challenge... Good Luck.

LBS Challenge

Robert Gourdine, Navteq issues a Challenge to attendees at the kick-off event

For more info see http://www.lbschallenge.com

For more information about the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Other relevant links:

Last Updated ( 17 October 2005 )
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