Microsoft released MapPoint Location Server (MLS), which enables businesses to improve the way they locate, track and manage their mobile assets and mobile work force. MLS represents a major advance for location-based services (LBS) by combining real-time location data from mobile operators with mapping capabilities from the Microsoft MapPoint Web Service.
This new technology can be used on a wide range of applications including asset tracking, fleet management and mobile-worker dispatch based on real-time proximity to a business-related event. For instance, a taxicab company could use MLS as part of its dispatch call center application to more efficiently dispatch the nearest cab driver to a customer pickup based on the driver's real-time location.
The first mobile operators to join Microsoft are Sprint (United States) and Bell Canada (Canada). Each will announce their plans and costs to offer the services to customers in their markets.
Bell Canada becomes the first major operator to offer real-time MLS-based commercial services to its customers. "Microsoft has propelled LBS with this release by simplifying the steps a business would need to take to integrate LBS into their business processes," said Adel Bazerghi, director of services development at Bell Mobility. "The support of industry standards in MLS combined with Microsoft's broad community of developers will dramatically reduce the barriers that in the past have presented challenges for businesses to benefit from LBS."
Some independent software vendors and solution providers are developing real-time location solutions for business customers with MapPoint Location Server. This includes Cubistix Inc., Immedient Corp. and Action Engine Corp.
MapPoint Location Server is available to customers with a valid license agreement for the MapPoint Web Service.