Moving to stake a claim in the burgeoning location-based services and applications market, mobile systems developer AirPatrol Corporation has announced a pair of new offerings designed to let organizations and 3rd software developers enable app and information delivery to mobile devices in zones as small as six feet across.
The first product, ZoneAware, is a locationing and delivery platform made up of passive sensors and a software-based locationing engine that gives organizations the ability to identify both 802.11 Wi-Fi and 2G/3G/4G cellular devices and enable different applications, information delivery, and mobile services as the device moves through monitored zones within a facility. AirPatrol’s other new offering is third-party access to its AirPatrol Zone Engine, which will allow software developers to leverage AirPatrol’s device locationing technologies to enable mobile apps and information delivery based on zones up to 30 times more precise than other locationing tools.
“We’re heading into a post-PC world where smartphones, tablets and wearable computing will be changing their behavior and the information they provide based on where the user is and what she is doing at the time,” said Cleve Adams, CEO of AirPatrol. “Most locationing technologies can provide a general area of where a device is — within 100 to 1,000 feet — which is fine for generalized activities like finding restaurants within a mile of you, but it’s not particularly useful when you want real precision. AirPatrol’s Zone technologies can notify the maître d’ to prepare a table when a VIP steps into the restaurant, tell an emergency responder exactly what floor and room an E911 caller is in, even securely deliver patient records to a doctor’s tablet when he enters the patient’s hospital room.”
Key to AirPatrol’s Zone technologies are a combination of passive sensors that detect and identify radio signals emanating from devices on both cellular and WiFi networks, and a software platform that does the heavy work of measuring those signals and adjusting for obstructions like wood, metal, stone and glass, to deliver pinpoint locationing and the triggers to apps and information based on the zone through which the device is traveling.
“The ability to provide precision locationing in all building types using cellular/Wi-Fi detection and not just WiFi is a major benefit of AirPatrol’s technology,” Adams said. “Wi-Fi coverage is notoriously difficult in indoor locations with lots of obstructions such as walls. Many people are also simply turning mobile’s Wi-Fi off to reduce security risks and, increasingly, because 4G cellular is faster and more reliable. Because we use both, AirPatrol’s Zone technology can provide far more consistent and accurate locationing no matter whether the device is moving or stationary, indoors or outdoors. In short, we’re detecting the other half of the cellular users no other Wi-Fi-only solution can see,” he said.
AirPatrol’s locationing technologies were originally developed for government and military security applications where precision locationing and forensic tracking of all mobile devices was a requirement. In 2012, the company released an enterprise version of its ZoneDefense mobile security platform which augmented the device monitoring features with the ability to connect to and trigger 3rd party mobile device and application management tools (MDM/MAM), policy managers, network and endpoint security tools based on location. It was the 3rd party connectors that spawned AirPatrol’s new offerings.
“The moment companies realized we could add a location-based component to all of the mobile apps and tools they were using we started getting inquiries about connecting healthcare applications, retail services, marketing tools, and a whole list of other non-security-related systems to our ZoneDefense platform,” Adams said. “Given how much people use and depend on their mobile devices for work, home and entertainment these days, it only made sense to open the platform up to other applications and developers.”
AirPatrol’s ZoneAware platform will be available in early Q4 of 2013. Application developers, information providers and other third parties who would like to connect their products to the AirPatrol Zone Engine can apply to join the AirPatrol developer partners program via the AirPatrol website.