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TCS, Cellfind to fast-track LBS

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TeleCommunication Systems (TCS), a world leader in highly reliable and secure mobile communication technology, and Cellfind, a subsidiary of the JSE listed Blue Label Telecom, are jointly providing solutions for mobile network operators (MNOs) in Africa to quickly and cost-effectively deploy location-based services (LBS) that drive new revenue streams and enhance subscriber loyalty.

The companies will be presenting the latest advances in LBS solutions at AfricaCom2013 – Booth #B10c from 12 to 14 November in Cape Town, South Africa.

TeleCommunication Systems brings its robust platform and global leadership in LBS infrastructure to the relationship, while Cellfind offers feature-rich mobile LBS applications for both the consumer and business markets. The combined hosted turnkey solution can fast-track MNOs into the LBS market without big upfront investments.

The two companies will be working together to take this joint offering to MNOs through sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on major mobile markets in East and West Africa, as well as the South African Development Community countries. Wireless operators will benefit from a comprehensive, end-to-end LBS solution that is cost-effective and can expand with the growth of their business.

Andy Minnaar, MD for Africa at TeleCommunication Systems says: “This arrangement combines TeleCommunication Systems’ strength in developing and implementing LBS technology with Cellfind’s strength in developing location applications, a joint effort ideally suited to the region.

“Together, we are able to help MNOs give value to their subscribers in the form of rich, relevant, here-and-now information that makes life easier and more convenient.”

“Working with TeleCommunication Systems, we are able to offer MNOs a hosted platform for LBS, together with market ready applications, so that they can offer true value-add to their customers, quickly, easily and with minimal risk,” says Victor Probert, head Of International sales at Cellfind.

“These services can be deployed within a short space of time, giving a quick and easy win to MNOs looking for ways to diversify revenue streams, create sustainable value-added services, and grow ARPU.”

The hosted LBS platforms and mobile applications cater to all handset types: from entry-level cell phones to feature phones and smartphones. They also comply with privacy laws and regulations worldwide and easily integrate with any MNO’s cellular network.

Some examples of the services MNOs can deploy include:

* TCS’ Hosted or In-network LBS Solutions, which support the generation and distribution of location information for 2G, 3G and LTE networks. The application interface modules provide location information to requesting applications while maintaining critical privacy controls.

* Cloud Messaging Centre, TCS’ cloud-based web portal that allows carriers and enterprises to send large volumes of messages or data. Messages can be sent to phones, pagers, vehicles, and machines from a tablet, computer, or mobile phone. Because it is in the cloud, it provides operational efficiencies while assuring scalability and extensibility.

* A Friend & Family Finder, which allows subscribers to locate their loved ones anytime, anywhere, with directions sent either as text or a map. It works with all GSM handsets, from the basic models to the latest iPhones.

* Mobile Panic Assist service, which enables subscribers to use a mobile phone as a panic button in an emergency. This voice-free alert service sends a distress SMS indicating the user’s location to their emergency contacts or response assist company, all at the press of a button on the cell phone.

* Mobile Workforce Locator, which enables employers to track their staff in real-time, and easily redirect employees and resources to improve customer response times. Workforce Location can be combined with combined panic and assist add-ons to help workers stay safe, wherever their jobs take them.

* Asset Management and Tracking solution, which allows companies to track nearly any asset type – such as cars, courier packages, containers, movable equipment, public payphones, point of sale devices and office automation machines.
Simply place a SIM card and modem in the asset and you’ll receive location information as raw data, such as latitude and longitude, or pre-plotted on a map, along with the date, time and accuracy of the location data.

Through a strategic partnership with MapIT, a leading Geographical Information Systems company, Cellfind offers users accurate mapping for the whole African continent. These maps even provide points of interest, location relevant weather reports, traffic reports and routing, navigation and landmarking where physical address locations might be easier recognised by well-known landmarks.