Phones

Aussies beat out in Navteq Global LBS Challenge

Mapping mogul Navteq announced the winners of this year's third Global LBS Challenge at CommunicAsia 2008, with two Australian companies in the pool of semi-finalists missing out on the top honours.

The JoikuSoft team accepting its novelty-sized cheque.

Mapping mogul Navteq announced the winners of this year's third Global Location Based Services (LBS) Challenge at CommunicAsia 2008, with two Australian companies in the pool of semi-finalists missing out on the top honours.

Instead, Finnish start-up JoikuSoft took first place with its LBS solution JoikuSpot — software for Nokia S60 devices that turns mobile handsets into Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing compatible devices such as notebooks to share the handset's 3G mobile broadband data. When users activate their phone using JoikuSpot, their location is displayed on maps powered by Navteq and open connections can be shared by other people within range.

In Australia the prospect of sharing exorbitantly priced mobile data may not seem very appealing, but the JoikuSoft developers explained that the idea is taking off quickly in Europe and Scandinavia where "all-you-can-eat" style data caps are commonplace. Since launching the software, JoikuSpot has been downloaded over 300,000 times with 90 per cent returning to the software multiple times. JoikuSoft is sure to reach a much larger market after winning first place with the support of Navteq behind it.

Also in the running were two Australian companies, Melbourne-based Momentum Technologies with its LBS solution LocalJoeLive.com, and Lonely Planet, bringing its wealth of travelling knowledge to software built on Navteq maps. Both solutions take advantage of user-generated content to create more meaningful points of interest, allowing users to connect with people familiar to a particular region to glean invaluable local knowledge. LocalJoeLive.com takes the idea a step further by having the "Local Joe" stream live video via the cameras in their mobile phone handsets back to users sitting at their PCs.

Joseph Hanlon travelled to CommunicAsia 2008 as a guest of Samsung.