I am writing a position paper about how position (ironically) can reduce the amount of data sent to a mobile device and make what is sent more likely to be of interest to the user. Since the paper will be distributed as part of a campaign to promote an OGC event about mobile standards later this month, I'm using the phrase "Next Generation Location-based Services" to describe this, but I'm exploring other closely-related ideas and topics.

A lot of people, especially academics (here's an example), have developed, as far back as a decade ago, some excellent thinking around such services and there was a very comprehensive CSC Grant report about NGLBS published in 2010 on the subject.

I was watching the recently-posted video by Robert Scoble on the new real-time information feed that TagWhat released the other day. About 8 minutes into the video, I heard that with Forbes writer Shel Israel, Robert is co-writing a book about contextually-aware services called the Age of Context. I look forward to reading it.

The Scobleizer tweet stream is packed with excellent examples of how mobile sensors on devices are going to impact the services we use. So, while the concept of Next Generation LBS isn't new and it really hasn't become common (yet), it's fair to say that it is trendy.

What Scoble hasn't discussed, at least in what I've read of his writing on the topic to date, is the problem of proprietary APIs.

Scoble is a huge fan of social media, especially Google+. On the day that I was watching the TagWhat video interview, I also learned that Robert was going to be using the new Smith Optics Elite Division ski goggles with Recon Instruments technology. I haven't read Robert's review of these yet but I hope he does a special about Augmented Reality when skiing.

In the social media "universe" there are few, if any, open standards. Unfortunately, many of the services to which the applications are sending requests for contextually-relevant information are social media services, using proprietary interfaces. Application developers must either develop their own data and limit their users’ access to other appropriate data sets, or write to and use the unique features of each service interface in order to relay the data to their servers, where they can filter the data as needed by the user and according the preferences and context settings of the mobile client application.

Lack of standards for contextually-relevant data places a heavy burden on developers. In contrast, if the burden on developers can be reduced significantly with the use of open data, linked data and, above all, open Web-based services, more developers will use more diverse data sets in their services and the era of contextually-aware mobile services will blossom.

My position paper describes how some standards already exist to address the problem. The Open GeoSpatial Consortium provides the most widely-implemented set of open standards for geospatially-referenced information for use in the development of contextually-aware enterprise and consumer services. I'm looking forward to learning more about these during the upcoming Next Generation LBS event the OGC is holding on February 27. I hope to meet many of you there!