Voxeo has unveiled a new solution, Voxeo LBS (location-based services), that is incorporated into its interactive voice response platform for voice, text, and mobile Web interactions.
Voxeo LBS identifies a caller's exact location, making it easier, safer, and more convenient for mobile customers to access location-based information and services, such as finding a retailer's nearest store, obtaining traffic information, or requesting roadside assistance, without entering a location or downloading an app.
"It's the same exact technology that's used for 911 calls," says Kim Martin, director of marketing. "Now we're accessing this technology within the IVR system. Within the call, it will ask you 'May we access your existing location?' Instead of having to enter information, the IVR can access it and tell me where the closest locations are of something I'm looking for."
In addition to store locators and other applications that typically require location information, companies can use LBS to deliver location-based marketing offers and location-based advertising.
The technology can also work to track mobile workers, such as security guards or home health aides.
"One of the issues we've seen is with companies who have mobile workers, and tracking them and monitoring their progress throughout the day," says Martin. "This can be used as a time card for mobile workers, such as a home care nurse, who can use the IVR system to log in."
There can also be some fraud issues when mobile workers say they've been somewhere and that they haven't. The technology might be used in conjunction with voice biometrics, Martin points out; a person identifies himself through his voice, and using LBS as another authentication level, the system would locate where that person is.
Voxeo has been working on LBS for some time and began talking to its customer base since last fall to gauge interest. The cloud-based solution works with all major wireless carriers nationwide, which makes the service available to 350 million mobile devices (90 percent of U.S. consumers), according to the company.
For developers, partners, and customers who want to create LBS on their own, or add location intelligence to their applications, Voxeo offers a secure LBS API. The API works with inbound and outbound IVRs, as well as multichannel communications like SMS and mobile Web applications. Voxeo works directly with customers to guide them through the privacy and data security requirements, carrier approval process, and provisioning.
Depending on the type of application, Voxeo offers multiple privacy levels, including single and double opt-in, as well as SMS challenge messages for opt-in confirmation. To protect mobile users' private information, Voxeo never stores location-based data on its system for purposes other than troubleshooting. The privacy guidelines are fully compliant with CTIA's Best Practices and Guidelines for Location-Based Services.