Today, there is a vast array location technologies that are involved in the calculation of a user's or object's position. Positioning here means allowing a mobile device to be aware of it's location with different degrees of precision and accuracy. The technology required for provision of automated location information to mobile devices has been in continual development for several decades. While the majority has its roots in military (e.g., GPS), modern consumer technology is also raising to meet the challenges, specifically in metropolitan areas. Telecommunication initiatives like the US FCC's E911 and Europe's E112 have generated a lot of interest in applications and services that are a function of a user's or an object's location, referred to as location-based services (LBS).
Unfortunately, millions of square meters of indoor space and urban areas are out of reach of GPS systems. Conventional GPS receivers do not work inside buildings due to absence of line of sight to satellites, while cellular positioning methods generally fail to provide a satisfactory degree of accuracy. The delivered position fixes cannot even be used for determining whether a target person stays inside or outside a certain building, not to mention that it is by no means possible to locate it with the granularity of rooms or floors.
Fortunately, over the past decade, advances in location positioning technology have made it possible to locate users and objects indoors. These alternative technologies are now being introduced to the market enabling indoor (in-building) positioning. Different technologies will demand different capabilities from the device, while they'll bring various constraints. Outside the remit of cellular networks exist other families of positioning technologies that are often referred to as ‘local positioning systems' (LPS) which make use of short range networks such as 802.11, Bluetooth, RFID, UWB, TV, or radio signals.
A non-profit, all-volunteer industry alliance, the WCA has recently launched four SIGs focused on RFID, Emergency Networks, Wireless Sensors, and Metro Wireless. The purpose of these interest groups is to foster the exchange of non-proprietary, industry-specific information, support networking among Bay Area companies, and promote relevant segments of the wireless industry. With more than a hundred companies active in location-based services in Northern California, an LBS SIG is overdue. The WCA seeks speakers, sponsors, and support.
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