Newsletter Editorials

Never Again? Oh, Again and Again.

February 22, 2012By

When the last English inhabitant of Virginia’s Lost Colony succumbed to hunger or swamp fever or local assimilation in 1588, Chesapeake chief Powhatan may have turned to his council and said, “Well, that’s the last of that. No more will we be troubled by outsiders infringing on our territory. Let’s get back to doing what we do best.” read more

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Privacy and the Devil Pact

February 15, 2012By

In the public dialogue about mobile privacy concerns, I’ve yet to hear a plea to turn back the clock to when mobile apps were supported by subscription fees. Surprisingly, many consumers don’t understand the devil pact that free services come with a loss of privacy. With the exception of enterprise offerings, subscription fees have shrunk or disappeared for most location-based services. At the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the University of Southern California, Allison Cera of Lucent-Alcatel talked about the intersection of technology and identity. More than half of the people in her study felt they shouldn’t have to provide information about themselves just to get the most out of online services. Among the most connected technology users, the expectation of privacy was lower. read more

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Government and Fleet Markets Find Steady Growth

February 8, 2012By

It’s not a market that will help users find friends or places to eat, but it seems to be one that keeps movin’ along. The government and enterprise market for location-based services seems to be steady, if not growing, as evidenced by nearly 9,000 attendees at the recent Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Topics included the 20th Anniversary of the government’s intelligent transportation systems program. read more

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Rugged GPS-Enabled Windows Laptops

February 7, 2012By

I brushed the snow from my keyboard and in my mind I could hear the neighbors whispering, "Call the men in white coats, there he goes again." They may have cause for concern, as I am sitting on my deck during a lull in a major blizzard, typing on a laptop computer half buried in snow. My warfighter correspondence indicates that some war tasks call out for a rugged laptop rather than a rugged handheld device; thus, this cold warrior test of a device with embedded GPS capability. read more

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Let’s Hear It for the Supremes!

January 24, 2012By

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on GPS use for tracking criminal suspects makes U.S. law clear on this issue going forward, but it does not address tracking for commercial aspects. One U.S. newspaper editorialized, “the unanimous decision failed to resolve troubling questions about the privacy rights of Americans in the face of intrusive modern surveillance technology.” The privacy picture in other large markets — Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia, China, and elsewhere — remains even less clear. If GNSS should be perceived as a tool of Big Brother (government) or Big Broker (industry selling and buying consumer location data), then all navigation systems acquire a big PR problem, which translates into big funding and modernization problems. read more

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Location Technology, All in the Cars

January 18, 2012By

Microsoft says this is its last year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Fine. Move over because the car manufacturers are using the show to unveil stunning location and mobile offerings. It has only been a few years since automakers started coming to CES to pitch new in-vehicle mobile platforms. This year automakers have been knocking themselves out to bring smartphones, location and cloud content into the vehicle to enhance the driving experience. The CES invasion by the vehicle OEMs started in 2007 when Ford introduced Sync at CES. Kia followed in 2010 with UVO powered by Microsoft. 2012 brings a multitude of OEM mobile announcements, including one from first-time CES participant Mercedes-Benz. read more

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