Says CEO Dave Mathews of NeuAer in Venture Beat about apps like Highlight that launched at SXSW this year:
The problem at hand with LBS apps is that they require the GPS radio to run nearly full-time, have a clear view of the sky to get a signal, and report back to a server their location.
They eat your batteries leaving you alone with no tweets or Facebook or anything. But of course he has a solution: using a bunch of radio waves as a signature for not locating per se, but prompting your device to "do something."
Sadly, the NeuAer website does not have a "how it works" page or video. But I found this digging into the blog:
This marks the first time that our ToothTag engine for proximity plumbing is available for developers to create their own web services that can be executed based upon your smartphone seeing another wireless radio.
And, Rafe at C|net did the due diligence:
Mathews' technology, ToothTag (can we talk about that?), uses all the radio signals that come into a phone--Wi-Fi, GPS, near-field, and most importantly Bluetooth--to fingerprint a location or a person with high accuracy. Most of the real-world locations and things you care about, he says, emit a complex radio-frequency signature based on more than one transmitter. Mobile-phone location services don't use enough of these signals, he says. When it comes to mobile assets like Bluetooth headsets, you don't even have to connect to the other device or "pair" with it. In other words, once you collect the Bluetooth signature from someone you know, you could, with ToothTag technology, get an alert on your mobile device whenever that person came within Bluetooth range of you.
So, you capture a signature of the place/object of interest, then identify what you want to happen when that place/object is in range again. As Rafe notes, there are all sorts of privacy implications here. The first: must you ask permission to capture someone's electronic signature? The app and developer tools are available for Android, with iPhone coming later.
I'm not expecting to see this solution hit it big.