Use Case for Accurate Everywhere Positioning ... WiFi on my iPod isn’t enough!

The incredible growth in Location-Based Services (LBS) and stricter requirements for emergency services (e.g. E911) are driving the need for Accurate Everywhere location (5-10m). In many scenarios, one source of positioning information is not sufficient. Rather, a combination of multiple sources (such as A-GNSS, WiFi, Cellular and Sensors) is required to provide an accurate position.

This is the 1st in a three-part blog series designed to share different use case scenarios for hybrid location technologies as personally experienced by the location technology test experts and engineers of Spirent Communications.  Should you have your own specific scenarios (good or bad), we would love to hear from you and collaborate on your thoughts and expectations for Accurate Everywhere location. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

So here is one example of why utilizing multiple positioning technologies is necessary for Accurate Everywhere location. . . . I am a compulsive location finder on my location capable electronic devices. I don’t know why but I have this constant urge to know where the device thinks I am and my understanding of where I am. I may have gotten into this habit because of being in the Location Test and measurement business long enough (Occupational hazard I guess!). So, I am on a bus from NYC to Boston that offers WiFi. I take out my iPod and start pressing the find my location button every few seconds while the bus is passing through the streets of midtown Manhattan. I am very happy to see the iPod shows me the position accurately. It seems to be using WiFi Access points as the information source and there are plenty of them available on the streets of Manhattan. As the bus gets on to GW bridge, my finger hits the find location button again. Guess what, my iPod shows me that I am in the Port Authority bus station in New York City!! I smiled and thought the person next to me may consider me crazy to be talking about this. All throughout the journey to Boston, I was in Port Authority as per my iPod. Since the iPod is limited to understanding WiFi as the information source for positioning,  it was unable to provide Accurate Everywhere location.

I started to wonder about smartphones that support multiple positioning technologies like GPS, WiFi and Cellular and the value-added if they could work well even in conditions where a single positioning technology is not capable of providing an accurate location. For example, in the above scenario, if I had an iPhone, would that have worked on the bus? The answer would be yes, because it would have used GPS to override the WiFi location. Would the iPhone have worked accurately inside a mall? Maybe. It is important to verify the accuracy in different conditions where the positioning technology sources have their weakest and strongest presence.  This verification process helps improve the positioning availability and ensure Accurate Everywhere location.

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