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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In speaking with Ted Morgan, CEO, about Skyhook Wireless’ first customer for their Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS), one of the potential results of the ubiquitous deployment of Wi-Fi in homes, offices, and elsewhere, is the necessity to put 802.11 chipsets in more handsets. If GPS or assisted-GPS can not accurately meet the requirements for the FCC’s E911 mandates, then Wi-Fi may be the next technology embedded into cell phones and other mobile devices.

No less surprising is the potential for Wi-Fi to assist local search. With all of the interest by Microsoft, Google, MapQuest and Yahoo to compete for advertising dollars and use local search to squeeze more from local market retailers and others, Wi-Fi is an obvious catalyst. Now that laptops outpace desktops in market share, and most laptops now come equipped with 802.11 chipsets as a standard feature, the opportunity to leverage Wi-Fi technology to automatically indentify the location of the individual (with the appropriate permissions) conducting the search for local information is substantial.

Skyhook now has a database of Wi-Fi hotspots in 25 major cities and hope to hit 100 cities by year end. They employ a proprietary scanning technology to "sniff" for Wi-Fi access points and retrieve the base station’s name and unique identifier. Skyhook is in a pilot phase with another company to build a broker layer between A-GPS and Wi-Fi to make the hand off to get a more precise location if either A-GPS or GPS fails to do so. So, the possibility exists that future handsets will employ GPS and Wi-Fi chipsets to aid location determination.

And one final Wi-Fi application is getting traction. Wi-Fi tags are being used to track assets in much the same way that RFID tags are employed. While the RFID tag is better suited for tracking assets inside buildings where RFID readers can be efficiently used, the Wi-Fi tag makes sense for asset tracking over greater distances, where again, more Wi-Fi hotspots are available. So, for tracking the asset across town or across the country, where real-time tracking is necessary, Wi-Fi makes more sense because the networks is more widely available, and certainly will continue to grow. Check out AeroScout’s serices for real-time location services (RTLS).


by Joe Francica on 06/14 at 04:34 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Skyhook Wireless, a company that has developed metro-wide databases of Wi-Fi access points for location determination, has signed CyberAngel as its first customer to support the tracking of stolen laptops. "CyberAngel’s solution is kind of a ‘Lojack’ for laptops," said Ted Morgan, Skyhook’s CEO. CyberAngel will launch a new product called Wi-Fi tracker based on Skyhook’s Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS). CyberAngel will be releasing its product in Q3 of this year.



by Joe Francica on 06/14 at 02:49 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Strategy Analytics reports that the sales of portable navigation units, such as TomTom GO and Garmin StreetPilot will likely “fill the large near-term opportunity hole left by automotive navigation system suppliers, but after 2006, wireless players will take over the volume consumer market.” Until then, portable navigation shipments “will double, and even triple in some regions, during 2005.” So, basically, once carriers meet FCC guidelines for locating handsets, it’s all over for the specialty vendors? We’ll see.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/14 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Intergraph updated its contract with CEO Halsey Wise two weeks ago. In his original contract, from two years ago, the company agreed to pay for commuting expenses between his home in Florida and the HQ in Huntsville, Alabama until he moved. That language was not in the new contract, which includes a raise and enhabced bonus, suggesting the company will continue to pay for travel. One note in the article in the Huntsville Times: The company has no plans to relocate.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/14 at 06:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

It’s not as exciting as it sounds; it’s taking a GPS and cell phone when you rollerblade, and pushing data about your route (and its pavement quality) to a website. Don’t get me wrong, this is valuable. It’s just the beginning of tracking such data for this sport and others. There’s just one thing in reading up on this that’s bothering me: one article suggests this helps document places where people can skate. I suspect folks skate (and ride bikes and do other things) where perhaps they should notЕ

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/14 at 06:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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