Posted by:Shyam Sundar March 30th, 2011

A mobile network uses a patchwork of cells to allow your phone to place and receive calls. The network is a collection of towers and base stations that send and receive radio signals and your phone contains a low-power transmitter that can communicate with the nearest tower. When you are on the move, the phone is basically handed over from the cell you are leaving to the cell you are entering. So even without a GPS receiver, your cell phone can provide information about your location.

A new era dawns

Present day smartphones (iPhone, iPad, Droid clones, etc.) rely on a network of GPS satellites to pinpoint location. The GPS receiver in your phone uses a method known as trilateration to calculate the exact coordinates. But it only works if you have line-of-sight to 3 of the GPS satellites.

Essentially, each GPS satellite broadcast a time from a synchronized atomic clock. The differences in those times that you receive at any one time tell you how long the broadcast took to reach you, and thus where you are in relation to the satellites.

Location based services (LBS)

The principal LBS service that all phones carry is the one that gets triggered when you dial 911. The phones automatically transmit your location to a Public Safety Answering Point(PSAP) so that emergency responders know exactly where you are.

When iPhones came with an inbuilt GPS receiver, it opened up a host of opportunities that used the phone’s location to deliver value added services. Developers were freed from interfacing with the carrier to derive the users location and could do so by directly using the phone’s API. Some of the coolest LBS apps are from Yelp (reviews), Neer (to know where your loved ones are) and Foursquare (of check-ins and badges).

While the first generation of apps were purely location focused (Foursquare, for example), the future of LBS is going to be its seamless integration with the user’s lifestyle.

So, eager to learn why your business MUST take notice of Mobility ? Or want to decide which app is a right fit for your business? Download your choice !

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