An Interop Manifesto

As history shows, when commodity business arrives and prices fall, reach often grows, and newer opportunity expands into larger addressable markets. SMS is one example. Originally invented as a provisioning tool, SMS evolved from an early data service differentiator, to a premium bulk offering, and most recently to a commoditized global, interoperable standard for information exchange across networks and devices. Once managed by neutral third parties, SMS interoperability introduced multi-billion dollar per year revenue streams for the ecosystem despite commoditization, creating a new competitive imperative for open exchange. 

Carrier-based mobile location services have entered similar later-stage market conditions, where the information value is commoditized by alternative sources, and where future revenue growth (at least for the carrier community...) depends on friendly, interoperable exchange to best serve whole-ecosystem market development. In a converged world of location-enriched social communication and user content publishing & media sharing, it's counter-competitive to enforce policies that prohibit applications to share subscriber location freely across networks systems and devices. Perhaps a larger opportunity now exists to assume a mature leadership role by creating an interoperable solution through an exchange (not a proxy) that facilitates location sharing while managing triple A policies and privacy—maybe a Swiss location exchange consortium, driven by membership contributions from the carrier community, trusted suppliers of in-network location services gear, and a few managed service providers who have already proven the possibilities for SMS? This is a political problem with incumbent issues that can't be solved with wheel-spinning, but rather needs a whole-ecosystem willingness and motivation to adapt.  Are you ready to do that?