Out in Front: The Good, the Bad, the Incompetent

September 1, 2011By

The most efficient use of spectrum the world has ever seen benefits more than a billion people today. Two billion tomorrow, when modernized and interoperable GNSS gets real. This massive installed base constitutes a source of innovative advantage and invaluable good will for the United States. The latter arises from the high degree of trust and confidence in the United States and its stewardship of GPS, one of the most successful — and perhaps only — simultaneous foreign aid and domestic economic stimulus programs ever created. read more

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Expert Advice: Exploring the Technologies Behind Location-Gate

September 1, 2011By

For the past several months, controversy has raged over the revelation that Apple and Google tracked mobile subscriber location movements and stored that information in an unencrypted file on the handset, where it was potentially vulnerable to hacking and other inappropriate usage. The resulting Location-gate scandal highlights the sometimes tenuous control of mobile subscriber information versus the business objectives of dominant platform and applications providers. These business objectives may include immediate revenue opportunities from the subscriber being tracked or broader self-interest initiatives, such as collecting marketing data that may be valuable to third parties like advertisers, or building subscriber-reported Wi-Fi access point databases. read more

Expert Advice: Cloud-Based Location Changes Enterprise Playing Field

September 1, 2011By

New technology and wireless carrier openness now make real-time access to telephone location information available to the enterprise with no application required on the mobile device. Yes, that’s right: no application required! Cloud-based location, offered via direct connections to wireless operators, changes the playing field for enterprises to introduce instant operational efficiencies. Marrying location insight, privacy controls, and multi-modal communications through network application programming interfaces (APIs) provides enterprises with flexibility, cost savings, and time-to-market advantages. Whether delivering geo-targeted promotions, dispatching services, verifying worker activities, or performing other location-relevant actions, businesses now have cross-carrier access to location information for more than 85 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers — instantly! read more

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Watching and Waiting. And Questioning. GPS in the Balance

August 25, 2011By

The difference between navigation and communication signals — a key point not well or not at all understood in Washington — and an FCC rule that could cause LightSquared to foot substantial GPS refitting bills even if it prevails to interfere, were two of several subjects that came to light in last week’s “LightSquared Watch” webinar. As the Federal Communications Commission goes through its deliberations, two inside-the-Beltway experts joined me to speculate on what may happen, what we might do about it at that time, and the long, strange trip that brought us to this point. These matters, and your questions answered, in this month’s column. read more

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LightSquared: The Ball is in the FCC’s Court

August 18, 2011By

The FCC's public comment period regarding the LightSquared/GPS interference issue has ended and the reply comment period is over as well. To date, more than 3,300 comments were entered that the FCC must sift through and arrive at some sort of conclusion. Following are my last comments filed with the FCC as well as my best guess at where this is heading. read more

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Microsoft Missteps Add to Privacy Jitters

August 17, 2011By

Microsoft is contributing to the latest location privacy jitters. Missteps by Microsoft, Apple, and Google have the potential to dampen uptake of location solutions. Microsoft published the estimated locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections. The location database was assembled by Microsoft’s access to Windows phones and by vehicles that drive streets and record Wi-Fi signals accessible from public roads. The data were published on Microsoft’s Live.com website. read more

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Last Week’s Solar Storm and the Final LightSquared Push

August 10, 2011By

You may not have noticed it, but last Friday we experienced the first serious geomagnetic storm in this solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24), which began in 2009. Not all types of solar activity (sun spots, solar flares, solar burst, and solar radiation) affect GPS receiver operations. Geomagnetic storms are the ones that can cause problems for GPS receivers if those storms are powerful enough. read more

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