Case in point: the wireless carriers. Sprint, Verizon, At&t and T-mobile all have network-based location capabilities, but none are available to app developers via a simple-to-use API. With this API, developers find it extremely difficult to utilize network-based location on their apps. The Wholesale Application Community (WAC) was a cross-carrier partnership who's goal was to allow any app to be used on any handset on any carrier. Under this Utopian coalition, a developer would build their app to WAC standards, and then would be able to deploy the app across carriers. It turns out that the carriers each had their own idea of how this should work, and after years of infighting, the WAC dissolved with few results for years of effort.
So what's a cross-carrier app developer to do? Well, if the end goal is to inoperative carrier-grade network location services, then companies like LOC-Aid are the answer.The carriers specialize in building infrastructure that operates with 'five 9s' reliability, and therefore innovation on the carrier side is a slow, painful process. LOC-Aid (for who I do contract work, full disclosure) specializes making carrier location services available through a modern, well-built API that app developers find easy to use. The carriers handle the back haul equipment and reliability, and LOC-Aid provides an innovative, high tech front which developers can use to bring the latest location technologies to their apps without direct carrier interaction.
The failure of the WAC shows how intermediary companies such as LOC-Aid continue to provide a highly valuable service to developers and end users. Maybe some day that telcos will learn to play nicely together (not likely), and until then, let someone like LOC-Aid handle the tough carrier negotiations!