Skip to main content

Logging cellphone locations - the real purpose

When researching next-generation location technologies for our report Mobile Location-Based Services 2012-2015, we looked a lot at the location logging scandal that got a lot of attention in April.  It's clear that most smartphone platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, log the locations of Wi-Fi networks and cellular cells that the phones detect.  This data is then used to provide location services when GPS is turned off or unavailable.

What we found, however, is that many companies are researching other uses for location logs as well.  The biggest use is user profiling, whereby the places a user goes can be used to develop a profile of the user's activities.  This profile is used to personalize services and target promotions and advertisements.

That Google is doing this wasn't a surprise.  Microsoft has also been researching this for a long time, using location logs and other data to learn about "life patterns" and "user activities, goals, and context."  Nokia also has a long-running research project in this area, which appears to be continuing even since Nokia's alliance with Microsoft.  Sony Ericsson is also researching the area.

What's more surprising is that Nokia's research in this area, since their alliance with Microsoft, appears to be working on location logging on Android and iOS devices.  It'll be interesting to see if and how this comes to market.

What will consumers think of all this?  Many will probably cry "big brother!" but many others are likely to like the personalization and usability that these profiles may bring.  If phones can build user profiles that save you button clicks and touch-screen swipes, you'll probably be happy.

More details are available in the Grizzly Analytics report (click here).  Or you can wait to hear about it until it hits market....

Popular posts from this blog

Intel demos indoor location technology in new Wi-Fi chips at MWC 2015

Intel made several announcements at MWC 2015, including a new chipset for wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi) in mobile devices. This new chipset, the 8270, include in-chip support for indoor location positioning. Below we explain their technology and show a video of it in action. With this announcement, Intel joins Broadcom, Qualcomm and other chip makers in moving broad indoor location positioning into mobile device hardware.

The transition of indoor location positioning into chips is a trend identified in the newest Grizzly Analytics report on Indoor Location Positioning Technologies, released the week before MWC 2015. By moving indoor location positioning from software into hardware, chips such as Intel's enable location positioning to run continuously and universally, without using device CPU, and with less power consumption.

Intel's technology delivers 1-3 meter accuracy, using a technique called multilateration, generating a new location estimate every second. While 1-3 meter …

Seeing Quuppa's indoor location technology at MWC 2015

I first met Fabio and Kimmo from Quuppa in 2012, before Quuppa existed, when they had spent years researching indoor location positioning technologies at Nokia Research Center. Less than a year after that they formed Quuppa, independent of Nokia, to bring their technology to market. At the time I called Quuppa "the newest and oldest in indoor location positioning."

Fast forward two and a half years. Their technology has reached market, it can now track both smartphones and BLE devices, and it's accurate to within 20-50cm. Before reading more about their technology, take a look at a video of their demo in action:

Grizzly Analytics has analyzed indoor location technologies by over 150 companies, and virtually all of the radio-based technologies operate by measuring the distance between the device being tracked and other radio devices, and using these distance measurements for either multilateration or fingerprinting. For example, the well known BLE beacons measure a device…

Robot Camera Foreshadows an Era of Location-Aware Electronics

A French company called Move 'N See produces a line of camera robots. Their devices act as a smart tripod, holding a video camera and automatically moving and zooming the camera as people of interest move around a site.

The idea is simple but amazingly innovative. Photo selfies are easy to take, but video selfies are next to impossible. How can I video myself playing football or doing gymnastics, without setting the camera so far back as to be useless? Do spectators want to spend an entire sporting event carefully videoing their friend or relative moving around the field?
Enter Move 'N See's "personal robot cameramen." Their devices aim, pan and zoom a video camera as one or more people move around an area. The people of interest wear armbands whose locations are tracked, enabling the camera controller to know where to aim the camera. The camera controller also includes enough smarts to adjust the camera smoothly and to capture multiple people evenly. The armband…