02 Jun 2021
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AWS launches Amazon Location Service

By Shannon Williams

Amazon Web Services has announced the general availability of Amazon Location Service, a new service designed to make it easier and more cost-effective for customers to add location functionality to their applications without compromising on user privacy or data security. 

With Amazon Location Service, customers can embed location functionality in their applications using data from location-based service providers Esri and HERE Technologies to provide maps, points of interest, geocoding (converting location information to a point on a map), route planning, geofencing (creating virtual perimeters), or asset tracking. 

“Our customers are excited to use location data to take advantage of the explosion of connected devices available today,” says Bill Vass, VP of Technology, AWS. 

“With built-in support for tracking and geofencing and a number of use cases that are as low as 1/10th the cost of the most common LBS providers, Amazon Location Service is pretty compelling for any company that wants to bring location functionality to their application using a fully managed AWS service built with the highest standards for privacy and data security," he says.

According to AWS, Amazon Location Service is as low as 1/10th the cost of the most common LBS providers, and customers pay only for the number of user requests, assets tracked, or devices managed. 

Location data is vital for companies of all sizes and across every industry to support a range of use cases (e.g. asset tracking, route planning, and location-based marketing experiences) that rely on the explosion of connected devices in the world. However, due to privacy and security compromises, cost-prohibitive pricing, and a difficult integration process, many companies face significant barriers when integrating location functionality into their applications. 

For example, some LBS providers impose licensing terms that give the LBS provider the rights to access, use, and commercialise a customer’s location data (e.g. the position of users, facilities, or vehicles). Additionally, the pricing from LBS providers often makes it too expensive for customers to use location functionality in all of the ways a customer may want to use it. 

Even when the licensing terms and price are less prohibitive, onboarding an LBS provider requires customers to invest significant resources integrating data and building supporting tools before using the provider’s location data in an application. 

For more advanced use cases like asset tracking or geofencing, a customer may need to build the solution from scratch, which can add months of development time. 

Furthermore, some customers may want to use an additional provider for a specific application or region, but this requires customers to invest additional resources in onboarding the new provider and integrating that provider into the application, which increases the cost and complexity of the application.

According to AWS, Amazon Location Service eliminates the complexity of adding location functionality to an application by providing a single, managed service that lets customers control what access providers have to a customer’s confidential data, cost-effectively implement location-based features, and easily integrate data from proven LBS providers Esri and HERE Technologies into their applications. 

Built with user privacy and data security top of mind, Amazon Location Service gives customers complete control of their location data. 

Amazon Location Service removes customer metadata and account information from queries before they are sent to an LBS provider, and sensitive tracking and geofencing information never leaves a customer’s AWS account (unless they choose to share it). 

Additionally, the Amazon Location Service licensing terms do not grant Amazon or third parties the rights to sell or use a customer’s location data for advertising.

Amazon Location Service is as low as 1/10th the cost for geocoding and routing, and a fraction of the cost for most mapping use cases, when compared to the most common LBS providers. 

Additionally, Amazon Location Service has built-in tracking and geofencing capabilities, so customers do not need to spend resources building their own solutions and can instead focus on building their application. 

The service comes fully integrated with Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon EventBridge, so customers can easily view monitoring, management, and log data, and can trigger actions based on events (e.g. when a device enters or exits a geofence or when a vehicle arrives at its destination). It also integrates with AWS security services, including AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Amazon Cognito, so customers can reduce system complexity and maintain consistent security practices with identity management and authentication tools that work across administrators and end-users. 

Amazon Location Service provides a single API that works across LBS providers and allows customers to switch between providers easily based on their specific use case or region, without needing to onboard new vendors or set up separate supporting infrastructure.

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