MTC-Vodafone launches location based services

MTC-Vodafone has launched what it claims are the region’s first mobile location-based services (LBS) after signing an agreement with Bahrain-based vendor, Geomatic.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  April 25, 2004

MTC-Vodafone has launched what it claims are the region’s first mobile location-based services (LBS) after signing an agreement with Bahrain-based vendor, Geomatic. The move will give the mobile operator’s Bahraini customers access to a range of rich media services with positioning information about local amenities including restaurants, cash machines and entertainment venues. The portfolio of services includes a place finder, which contains information on locations in different categories including banks, transportation, restaurants, health services, cinemas, cash machines, parks and attractions. Depending on the user’s handset capabilities, the result is shown either as an address in text form, or is marked on a street map. It is also possible to enter an address and see it on a map. Also available is a friend finder which enables customers to be located or locate friends and colleagues anywhere in Bahrain, find out how far away they are and, if they are available, exchange SMS and share information. “Whether our customers are accessing these services via the web, WAP, text or advanced messaging, they will benefit from intuitive driving directions and easy-to-access information that will guide them to their nearest petrol station, cinema or favourite restaurant,” says Khaled Al-Farkh, chief operating officer of MTC-Vodafone Bahrain. The operator says it has also addressed security and privacy concerns that have surrounded location-based services. Customers have to give authorisation to be tracked by friends, MTC-Vodafone says. Geomatec, which developed the service, is the commercial arm of the Bahrain Center for Studies & Research and specialises in geospatial technology and research services, developing and providing geo-spatial information databases and information products to both corporations and private customers. The vendor will be providing and hosting the geo-spatial information database which is the backbone of the LBS service.

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