Industrial Stimuli for the Harmonisation of European Research in the area of Location Based Services
The setting of the ISHTAR SSA project was the contribution towards the harmonisation of technologies, services/applications, and standardisation efforts in the field of Location Based Services (LBS).
In this respect, the project facilitated and promoted the exploitation of existing and emerging relevant expertises and practices. The overall background is therefore the European IST Strategic Objective of 'Applications and Services for the Mobile User and Worker', as well as the strategic objective 'To progress towards the achievement of the objectives of a European Research Area in a given IST field'.
The ISHTAR consortium was therefore composed of a selected set of organisations with complementary expertise (telecom operator, manufacturer, system integrators, GIS content providers) in the LBS and mobile applications sector.
Moreover, the consortium partners are/were key members in four IST R&D projects targeting the 'Applications and Services for the Mobile User and Worker' IST Strategic Objective, namely LIAISON, MobileIN, SHARE, POMPEI.
The ISHTAR SSA project closely monitored the progress and benchmarked the intermediate achievements and final outcomes of the above-mentioned projects. Furthermore, it established inter-project links and facilitated the dissemination and exploitation of results over and above the standard diffusion and exploitation activities of the individual projects.
The ISHTAR project pursued five main objectives:
- Identify and report on knowledge and expertise gaps that can be spotted, particularly in terms of technological interoperability in the field of Location Based Services at the European level.
- Contribute towards the harmonisation of standardisation efforts relating to LBS in terms of technologies (GIS, positioning techniques, etc.), generic applications/services, and also on special application fields (e.g. emergency applications, enterprise/business, entertainment, etc.) through the submission of formal roadmap recommendations (so-called 'ISHTAR positions') to the relevant standardisation bodies (3GPP, OMA, OGC, ISO).
- Derive a pan-European map of expertise in the field of Location Based Services and relevant technologies, also containing concrete information (e.g. SWOT analyses) and proof (e.g. market data) on the success and viability of R&D achievements at the European level.
- Develop a concrete, future-proof, long-term strategy proposal (five-year roadmap) for the organisation and coordination of future R&D activities in the field of location based applications and services for the mobile user.
- Effectively facilitate and promote the dissemination (i.e. organisation of two workshops embracing awareness sessions, presentations etc.) and exploitation (e.g. development of 'merged' model business plans) of existing and emerging expertises and practises in the field of Location Based Services.
The ISHTAR project's methodology was built around three main activities:
1. Harmonisation of LBS standardisation efforts
This first step started with the analysis of past and ongoing standardisation efforts related to Location Based Services, with the aim of identifying groups of standards corresponding to the three identified thematic areas of interest (LBS technology, LBS common applications and services, LBS special application fields). This allowed pinpointing standardisation problems, especially dealing with interoperability issues in all of the three areas. The objective was then to propose solutions for the harmonisation of the conflicting recommendations and a roadmap addressing current standards limitations.
2. Pan-European mapping of LBS expertise
This second step expanded on the first, as it started by identifying the FP6 LBS-related R&D projects/activities within and outside the IST context. The goal was to:
- establish direct communication and interactions with the LBS stakeholders and research activities/projects of interest,
- develop and exploit a systematic approach for the assessment of past and ongoing R&D activities in the domain of Location Based Services.
ISHTAR was then able to derive a pan-European map of expertise in the field of Location Based Services and relevant technologies, and consequently to initially identify missing expertise and technological gaps/barriers at European level.
3. Road-mapping and development of R&D strategy
The overall aim of this step was to produce the ISHTAR LBS R&D Strategy and Roadmap, preparing the ground for related R&D activities in FP7 and the associated implementation models.
The approach was to start by conducting an extensive survey on state of the art technologies related to Location Based Services, studying technological trends and industrial relevance. The aim was to identify the most promising issues requiring further research and development, as well as to select a representative number of research topics of industrial interest.
The ISHTAR project's results can be summarised in four themes.
1. The project provided a complete review of existing location standards. Shortcomings on these existing standards have been brought to light, and areas of improvement have been found with respect to the new location techniques being investigated in European R&D projects. This led to a series of proposed actions to be undertaken, and an identification of the relevant standardisation bodies, serving as the basis on which further R&D and standardisation activities should be undertaken in the future.
2. The European Research area (both within and without the IST context) was investigated for both current and future projects related to the Location Based Services domain. Special focus was given to FP6 projects. A number of projects were identified from areas such as FP6 and ESA. In this framework, ISHTAR established direct communication between the activities in the European LBS area, mainly by discussions via several Audio conferences. On this basis, a more detailed analysis of LBS FP6 and ESA R&D projects was elaborated, with respect to the architecture of the projects' systems, and an analysis of the components, all this with a special focus on technological and market success criteria. This study revealed :
- In terms of applications, the EC programs seem to complement the existing products
- The analysis reveals a real lack of European expertise in the field of AGNSS chipset manufacturers: more generally, Europe is suffering of a lack expertise in the domain of location sensors for terminals.
3. The project also provided a generic LBS architecture, featuring all the components involved in the provision of LBS. Using this architecture, an in-depth analysis was performed on Interoperability, Mobile Devices, Customer Usability, Personalisation, Security & Privacy, Content Availability & Quality, Content Adaptation and Continuous location provision.
The state of the art on each research issue was presented, followed by the identified open research issues, recommendations and a roadmap, where applicable.
4. And finally, ISHTAR conducted an analysis of socio-economic aspects, ethics and business plans. Starting from a thorough analysis of the social, economic, and regulatory aspects that have slowed down the take up of Location Based Services, the project defined a set of key-factors deemed crucial for the future take-up and commercial viability of LBS. This analysis
The main technical implications were:
- Identifying standardisation/interoperability needs, providing recommendations for future action.
- The building up of a generic LBS architecture.
- Identifying potential technical bottlenecks within the value chain, and establishing a relevant research agenda.
The ISHTAR project introduced a number of action plans in favour of more widespread recognition of the necessity of LBS (forums, website, etc.).
However, in a broader setting, the ISHTAR project proposed the idea of a European LBS forum: a users’ group that would enable people from all aspects of LBS to come together and discuss, among other things, all aspects of Locations Based Services. Currently there is a need for LBS awareness actions in Europe, as there is a very slow take off of these services within the European market. Therefore an LBS forum will be the mechanism whereby these actions can be performed.