Following publication of a significantly strengthened EU directive, expected later this year, EU member countries will have just 18 months to implement a law requiring operators to identify the precise location of callers to the E-112 emergency services, potentially to an accuracy level of just a few metres.
Similar to the E-911 legislation in the US, the new law is designed to improve emergency services’ reaction and response times due to improved location accuracy and therefore increase levels of public safety. However, over 50 per cent of emergency calls in the EU are made from mobile phones – and current network-based positioning technologies on the market cannot provide the degree of accuracy required.
Enabling high-accuracy location technology could be an enormous challenge for operators – there are 500 million mobile phone users in the EU. To comply with this legislation would mean a massive handset upgrade programme – a hugely expensive and complicated task.
BlueSky Positioning has developed patent-pending technology and processes to embed Assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS) capability in the SIM card (USIM in the case of 3G handsets), with minimal impact on signal strength and battery life. This means that operators need only replace the SIM cards, not the phones themselves – a far more manageable solution.
BlueSky Positioning’s A-GPS SIM uses an assistance data server in the mobile network to reduce the location identification time (Time To First Fix) and increase accuracy, particularly within buildings and densely populated areas. By embedding this accurate location capability in the end-user (U)SIM, SIM card manufacturers can enable swift and effective rollout and compliance – and faster emergency response times.
The A-GPS SIM can also enable the delivery of a whole new set of location-based services to the consumer without compromising their privacy. Operators can quickly build critical mass and benefit from the full revenue potential of accuracy-based LBS applications such as navigation, tracking, routing, personal security, and zone-based billing.
Risto Savolainen, BlueSky Positioning CEO, said “The LBS market has promised much and delivered little. This strengthened EU legislation to enhance public safety services will also catalyse the LBS market by putting the means of access into the hands of every user. Working with SIM card manufacturers, BlueSky Positioning enables mobile operators to embed the service in every consumer’s SIM and USIM card, without compromising the existing levels of card security and privacy protection.
“A new handset costs anywhere between €100 and €500 plus. A replacement (U)SIM is a tiny fraction of the cost. It’s a much smaller price to pay for better safety and the opportunity for a whole new range of applications.”
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