Following up on my blog from Friday, Apple’s acquisition of WiFiSlam is getting a lot of attention this week. In a nutshell, WiFiSlam specializes in a technology that allows mobile apps to pinpoint users’ locations through the interaction between their smartphones and standard wifi signals – no GPS need apply. It’s rumored to be a $20 million deal.
This deal has lit the technology world on fire. Although no one knows what Apple’s grand scheme is involving WiFiSlam, many are calling 2013 the year of indoor locationing.
Here is what to watch for in indoor locationing:
- Precision – How close to the device’s actual location does the solution get? WiFiSlam is said to get within 2.5 meters but algorithms and strategies are constantly improving. Last week in testing, AirPatrol Corporation was within a foot of the device’s exactly location.
- Devices – What can the solution find? There are many devices that have wifi turned off due to security issues and, when wifi is off, the device cannot be detected by wifi only solutions. However, cellular devices continue to broadcast until the battery is removed. A solution needs to be able to locate both wifi AND cellular devices. After all, high speed cellular is being built into being a common factor and has more range than wifi – a very attractive method of communication and data usage.
- So what factor – Although this is cool, what’s the point for enterprises, agencies, and corporations? The CTO doesn’t need a coupon pushed for Keurig cups when he walks into the kitchen; the CTO needs security and device management that incorporates location. While here, the device can do THIS but when here, the device can do THIS but can’t do THAT.
The real power is in the idea of context-aware mobility and security. There are more location-based start-ups every day but are they filling the right gaps with the right capabilities? After all, everyone likes Keurig coupons but everyone loves another day without data breaches.