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Location-Based Services Poised To Hit $13.3 Billion In 5 Years

Fleet management for enterprises and personal navigation will be the highest-revenue-producing apps for GPS-enabled phones, ABI predicts.

Increasing availability of embedded GPS capabilities in mobile handsets will translate to a huge boom in location-based services, where revenue is expected to grow from $515 million to $13.3 billion in the next five years, according to ABI Research.

"This growth is driven on the supply side by WCDMA and GSM handsets increasingly joining the many CDMA-based devices that incorporate GPS capabilities; and on the demand side by surging consumer interest in personal navigation functionality," the consultancy said Thursday.

ABI also parsed the LBS market into five segments: personal navigation, friend finder, local information searches, family-tracker applications, and fleet management.

Enterprise apps like fleet management and workforce tracking are expected to be the largest single revenue producer at $6.5 billion by 2013, ABI analyst Jamie Moss said in a statement. Personal navigation is the second-richest subset at $4.3 billion.

The findings track with what mobile gaming software site GetJar sees among its customer base. GetJar said Thursday that GPS will help grow the mobile applications market.

"This will include both functional applications of the type we all know already, such as navigation, to much more elaborate GPS-based games, where the user location is central to game play," GetJar CEO Ilja Laurs said in a statement.

ABI also pointed to "cross-network interoperability" as a necessary element for the growth of LBS. "Once services provided by one carrier are capable of seamlessly incorporating users from other networks, then the usage of LBS will be driven virally by the desire to respond to and interact with friends and family on other networks," the researchers said.

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