Microsoft Brings Location Server To MapPoint Web Service

Microsoft on Monday unveiled a corporate server designed to complement its MapPoint Web Service

March 23, 2004

2 Min Read
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Microsoft on Monday unveiled a corporate server designed to complement its MapPoint Web Service, which allows partners and customers to integrate realtime location data into business and consumer applications.

MapPoint Location Server (MLS), announced at the start of the CTIA Wireless show in Atlanta and Microsoft's Mobile Developer Conference in San Francisco, starts at $8,000 for 500,000 transactions and support for 50 roaming users. The server harnesses the company's recently enhanced MapPoint Web Service 3.5 mapping service, one of several .Net services developed as part of Microsoft's original .Net MyServices platform.

The MapPoint Location Server's plug-in architecture allows wireless operators to hook their services into the server transparently to users. At the CTIA Wireless show on Monday, Sprint and Bell Canada were the first to announce realtime commercial services based on MLS in the U.S. and Canadian markets, respectively.

ISVs and solution providers--including Cubistix, Immedient, Hewlett-Packard and Action Engine--are developing realtime location solutions for business customers with MapPoint Location Server, Microsoft said.

The server is targeted at fleet management, asset tracking and sales-force automation applications, or any application that requires realtime location information of trucks, inventory and personnel, Microsoft said. The server can help companies in the repair, service and shipping sectors speed deliveries, deploy workers more rapidly to areas of need in the field and access inventory information in realtime.Down the road, Microsoft expects developers and partners to integrate the realtime location server and MapPoint Web Service capabilities with CRM and SQL applications. A salesman with a mobile phone, for instance, can quickly access information about his top revenue-generating customers within a five-mile radius of his location at any time, said said Steve Lombardi, a technical evangelist at Microsoft.

"Initially, we'll see basic applications take hold, and we'll watch how location-based services take off in the enterprise," Lombardi said. "This is a developer tool, and we will make shrink-wrapped applications available. But the killer apps will be built by partners that build realtime functionality into business processes."

The MapPoint Location Server is among the first .Net corporate servers developed for in-house use after a major revision of the former .Net MyServices. When that platform was unveiled in 2002, many privacy advocates and corporate customers bemoaned Microsoft's plans to be able to host their proprietary user data. Microsoft then changed plans and said it would deploy much of the .Net functionality and protocols into corporate servers that could be licensed and used in-house.

In the meantime, the Redmond, Wash., software giant said it will continue to develop and enhance Web services such as .Net Alerts, MapPoint Web Service and Passport to complement the upcoming roster of corporate .Net servers.

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