Socio-ethical and regulatory implications of location-based media communication: in conversation with Dr. Roba Abbas

For the 10th episode of the dialog format “postdigital lunch” of the Leibniz ScienceCampus – Postdigital Participation, PhD student Per Ole Uphaus and Prof. Harald Rau were able to present insights und discuss current key questions of their research about location-based services (LBS) in an expert discussion. The two members of the KomMa team are proud that they were able to win Dr. Roba Abbas from the University of Wollongong, an international expert in the field of location-based services regulation, for this discussion. Dr. Abbas is a Lecturer and Academic Program Director at the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Wollongong, Australia and Co-Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society.

Nowadays, users can be provided with location-specific, individualized information at any time with the help of LBS. This kind of information retrieval gives LBS the potential to fundamentally influence users’ communication behavior and their perception of news, and thus forms a crucial basis for digitally enabled forms of participation. But what are the socio-ethical implications of this participatory component? And do participatory LBS in particular require specific regulations? These and other exciting questions were discussed in detail at the 10th postdigital lunch. The entire event was streamed live on YouTube while audience participation was made possible via the live feedback system ‘Tweedback’.

The discussion proved to be very enriching and insightful for all participants and represents the third collaboration between Dr. Abbas and the KomMa team after taking part in our international Delphi study on the future of LBS  and a guest lecture for the Ostfalia’s communication management Master’s course  last year.

The KomMa team would like to thank Dr. Abbas for her willingness to discuss her work and share insights in this relevant field of research and looks forward to further opportunities for collaboration.

The full conversation can be viewed here:

KomMa publishes study on the Location Based Services Market in leading LBS journal

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine our everyday life without ‘location-based services’ (LBS) like Google Maps and many others. Whether as smartphone apps with location reference or as navigation systems in cars – LBS accompany us everywhere. So far there is surprisingly little research concerning the market for LBS: Which providers of these services are currently the main players in the market? In which sectors and locations are LBS used? What functions do LBS fulfil (for providers and users)? Which user groups do they address? And finally: Which technologies are used?

Methodology: Quantitative Content Analysis

The KomMa team has been investigating these and other questions in a market exploration study since 2018. Per Ole Uphaus, Björn Beringer and Harald Rau, as well as the two former team members Kristoph Siemens and Annika Ehlers, first examined relevant newsletters specialising in current technologies over a defined period of time and collected information on the location-based services mentioned in them. Subsequently, for all these services, the first ten entries in each case that resulted from a search engine query were examined in more detail using a quantitative content analysis.
With this method, the KomMa team was able to gain completely new insights into the location-based services market. For example, it was shown that the majority of the services examined are primarily designed for advertising and/or so-called ‘analytics’ functions. Another surprising result was that there seems to be a clear trend towards an increased use of indoor LBS, which even seemed to dominate the LBS market during the study period.

Key Findings on the Location Based Services Market

The key findings from this market exploration study, titled ‘Location-based services – the market: success factors and emerging trends from an exploratory approach’ (DOI: 10.1080/17489725.2020.1868587 ), have been published in the Journal of LBS. The Journal of LBS is a world-leading scientific journal in this field, publishing current research results from all areas of location-based research and related technologies. Per Ole Uphaus and Björn Beringer were previously able to meet the journal’s editor Georg Gartner already in 2019 at the 15th International Conference on Location Based Services in Vienna. There, they were able to present their paper ‘Barriers seen by potential local Providers of Applications using Location-Based Services’ (DOI: 10.34726/lbs2019.36 ).

Foto: antoniokhr / istockphoto