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CTIA Show Report San Francisco 2007 Fall

Date 3rd November 2007

The CTIA Fall Expo and conference was hosted this year in my favorite US city San Francisco. Situated in the centre of silicon valley it was not a surprise to see the top names in wirelestechnology showing their wares. There were 2 main focuses of the event: social networking and location based services...


In fact the emphasis on LBS was so strong that Navteq devoted the day before the conference to a series of seminars highlighting their efforts in the location arena.


Article by Mike Barrett and Robert Brady


San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007


Click on the images for larger pictures.


Navteq Developers Conference

Navteq had hired out the ballroom and a number of meeting rooms in the Marriott Hotel across the street from the Moscone Convention Center and invited 320 developers and navigation specialists to a series of presentations and discussions highlighting the LBS services and products they have available for integration into user applications. The day culminated in a networking session in the restaurant on the top floor of the Marriott where we watched the sun setting over the streets of San Francisco.


There were multiple breakout sessions which was a bit of a problem for me as I wanted to attend two on at the same time. Of the ones I did go to the two most interesting were Discover Cities and Traffic.


Discover Cities is an interesting concept moving maps beyond the normal street navigation. It features vastly enhanced mapping with lots of new attributes (such as pedestrian crossing points, and paths through parks) but even better it integrates multi-modal navigation. Not only are the maps updated to include walking routes they also have rich content added and there is an awareness about different methods of travel. The rich content comes in the form of timetables and public transport exchange locations. This allows a trip to be planned taking into consideration a number of different modes of travel, and is able to analyse and discover the quickest route from A-B. This, of course, all works fine if the public transport is on time, but when does that ever happen?


Just as interesting is what Navteq are doing in the traffic arena. Recently they acquired traffic.com a specialist traffic company in the US which provides animated traffic movement data to a large number of TV station for the morning commute updates. In the US there are a number of traffic sensors operated by the Federal Government. These sensors provide flow data for a number of important road networks across the country, but it is far from complete coverage. Navteq have invested huge amounts into the traffic infrastructure and have their own array of sensors to augment the government network. This gives a far more complete picture of what is happening on the roads. All this data is then consolidated with 'editorial' data and is presented to the user as a series of incidents.


Interestingly we all want something for nothing in this world, but obviously collecting and consolidating all this information does not come for free. Navteq have addressed this by having sponsored traffic data allowing the presentation of the information to be accompanied by adverts thus effectively providing a free service to the user whilst being fully funded by advertising. I know Robert reported on this last week (included below) and there is some interesting discussions about it. Most people seem to be anti-advertising but by the same token they are unwilling to pay for additional services, this presents an interesting conundrum.


San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007


Tele Atlas Partner Stand

Of course Tele Atlas were also at the show with a large partner stand. The main feature of the display was the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series competition. This took the form of a demo of 3 finalists with the show attendees voting for their favourite. The applications in the final were:


-- Slifter (a GPShopper application): Using a user's zip code or a phone's GPS/LBS, Slifter allows shoppers to search local store inventory for products (over 85 million products at 30,000 retail locations), view product information, images and store locations and maps. Shoppers can share their finds with friends or save them to a mobile shopping list.

-- Hollywood USA: This tour guide features movie locations across the country with added GPS deployment on the uLocate - WHERE platform. Each site includes location photo and address, scene and plot description, stars, director and DVD cover image.

-- KnowledgeWhere PhoneTag Elite(TM): Developed in partnership with LivePlanet, "PhoneTag Elite" incorporates location-based mapping and messaging technology to create a hi-tech game of hide and seek. Players can play with anyone across the United States by participating in existing games, creating private games with friends, or participating in cash tournaments. Objective of game play is to capture your target while evading capture.


Tele Atlas also announced the Attendee Choice Awards for CES in January 2008. They are inviting companies with a LBS solution using Teleatlas mapping data to enter the competition where the winners will be decided by the CES delegates during the 2008 CES show.


San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

Garmin show their Mobile mapping solutions

Garmin were at CTIA showing the Mobile 10, Mobile 20 and Mobile for Blackberry products. All of these were 'old' products, and this was before the excitement of their offer to buy Tele Atlas, more of which in a separate article.


Unfortunately they didn't have on display their recently announced new Edge systems for cyclists, which feature colour screens and the addition of mapping data.

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

Nokia announce MOSH at CTIA San Francisco

Nokia chose CTIA to announce a new service called MOSH (Mobilise and Share). MOSH is a one-to-many distribution platform - a targeted channel for developers and tech leaders to publish applications and other content for any mobile device to a global audience. In its first two months of beta, MOSH users have made more than 6 million downloads of applications and pieces of content. For more information visit: http://mosh.nokia.com or mosh.nokia.mobi.


The stand featured the latest range of Nokia 'Multimedia Computers' including Nokia Maps, but of more interest to us was the grilling of one of thier VPs regarding the proposed acquisition of Navteq. More of this in a separate article.


San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

GPS Tracking for Convicts

I had an interesting discussion with a representative from a security company who produce ankle bracelets incorporating GPS and Wireless technologies. These devices are used by the authorities in a number of ways. The obvious one is for monitoring the whereabouts of individuals on parole. These people would be subject to restrictions of movement and curfews. This is all controlled back at the security centre where geo-fences are constructed and the monitored person is restricted to being within or outside the enclosed area. For instance a sexual predator may not be allowed within 300m of a school or playground. Alternatively someone with a restraining order may not be allowed within a certain distance of another person. The backend server monitors all of these scenarios and issues alerts to the authorities when conditions are broken.


Big Brother is watching...

The first day of the show opened with a meeting outside the show with Manlio Allegro of Polaris Wireless. In the USA there is a requirement for the authorities to be able to locate a call made to the emergency services. This is known as e911. There are a number of solutions to this issue ranging from GPS based (which is why the USA is ahead of Europe in LBS) and those using CellId triangulation. Both have their drawbacks in positioning a handset. Polaris has developed a hybrid solution which is a software only system running on the wireless carrier's in-house servers. This requires no hardware or handset upgrades and works with no input from the user.


Manlio quoted the system giving 30m accuracy in London. In a trial in New York 74% of the handsets were positioned within 50m and 99.1% within 150m. More importantly this system will work indoors where GPS cannot work. Indoors the positioning was degraded by 10%. We were also told that the positioning will work whenever the handset is switched on, you do not need to be in a call to be located.


This raises a lot of possibilities, the first of which is the analysis of patterns of cell phone movements. This can be superimposed on a streetmap and the actual traffic flow can be generated in real time. It could also be used to analyse traffic patterns over different days and times of day allowing predictive traffic flow models to be created and included in navigation. There is also a more sinister side of things as well.


As you only need to have your phone switched on there is a potential privacy issue here. Robert and I have very different views of this. I seriously object to having my movements tracked (and being recorded on public cameras) as a matter of principle. Robert sees this as a positive aspect for security. Less sinister, or maybe more so, it is possible that the traffic data can be analysed by market sector and user demographics. Again this data could be used at some time in the future to provide targeted advertising directly to your handset. Just don't borrow your partner's phone and wander down the high street... I suspect my concerns are somewhat unfounded.


I think that being in the fortunate position of meeting with the companies at the bleeding edge of the GPS technologies I see a lot of the potential of these applications, some of which will happen soon and some later or maybe never.


iMate launch their PDAs in the USA at ShowStoppers

iMate launched their PDA range at ShowStopper event in San Francisco. We were on hand to get the low-down from Jim Morrison iMate's CEO and founder (A Scotsman who was gloating about England's defeat in the Rugby). Since the split with HTC the iMate range has evolved into an impressive rival for the former partner.


The devices include the 8502 and 9502 (pictured to the right) with embedded GPS.


Click here to read the iMate press release and to comment.


San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

The "Look at me generation"

One of the major buzzes of the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference in San Francisco this week is the new mobile social networking phenomenon. Adapting the models of the likes of Facebook and MySpace and making them portable, these services allow people to create networks of friends on the move.


Following Google’s acquisition of mobile social networking start-up Zingku last month, coupled with the choice of Facebook’s co-founder Dustin Moscovitz to deliver today’s keynote address at this major show, serves to highlight the importance of this new technology.


Social networking services allow friends, families or colleagues to stay in touch wherever they go, primarily (primarily is the important word here!) through their mobile phones.


It also offers GPS geo-tagging of pictures and the ability to leave geo-tagged notes about restaurants, clubs, bars, shops, attractions etc. This alongside services that show where your contacts are on a map allowing you to find each other, communicate and even arrange real-world meetings. Yes, you remember, the face-to-face type of thing, just like in the old days! Joking aside, this new reality may actually facilitate more physical meet-ups if we all know who’s in the neighbourhood, pub or club. However, it may also come in very handy as an avoidance technique!


According to Jupiter Research, 28 percent of teens surveyed are interested in utilising MySpace on their cell phone. Utilising a mobile platform for blogging, messaging, sharing photos, videos and even what mood you’re in, a new fully wired – or should that be wireless - generation is emerging who will not only broadcast their whereabouts, but also their lives, as they happen, to a virtual network of contacts. In effect, a livecast and instant multicast diary with a searchable history of how you and your contacts are progressing through life – a new way of viewing reality.


Like the often regretted youthful tattoo, will your searchable reality come back to haunt you in years to come? At face value, social networking seems to be the antithesis of the more traditional online and offline privacy values. The “Look At Me” generation appears to have no real worries about making their lives public property. Indeed, even leaving aside Facebook and MySpace profiles, the many millions who have already uploaded the potted version of their life via online CVs will likely shrug off any such concerns.


For those of more mature years, too much exposure through a transparent lifestyle tends to be at best uncomfortable and, at worst, embarrassing. This unease is greatly diminished for the new tech-savvy mobile generation and the transparency is in fact, conversely, proving attractive to them.


Creating a personal “fan club” that shares your favourite bookmarks, rated content and pass-it-on comments is alluring to many. Blow-by-blow, as it happened (or how it was reported to have happened), life histories will clearly blur the traditional boundaries between public self and private self.


According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, already 34% of teens that have posted online profiles have kept no part of them hidden from public view.

This begs the question; will this new way of communicating actually alter the way people live? Will networkers live their life differently maybe attempting to publicly present a much cooler or more exciting lifestyle than they previously experienced? Shakespeare said “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players”; will social networking turn us all into a more accomplished bunch of actors?


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Ad Supported/Free GPS and Travel Concierge Announced

Is this the future for GPS; are you one step away from your next SatNav being subsidised by advertising companies?


After years of talk sprinkled with a good measure of hype, location based services are still dragging their feet. The GPS industry is still keenly looking for the most suitable business models, Amongst all the noise, is it possible that the push start needed lies in subsidised, even free, handsets?


adNav, a GPS marketing solutions company, has signalled its upcoming launch of Boomerang, an ad supported mobile concierge system integrated with GPS navigation aimed to help both business and leisure travellers while away from home. Scheduled to launch in November, adNav announced their product at CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment in San Francisco this week.


Powered by Tele Atlas digital map data and content, the system offers unlimited access to services such as restaurant, movie, event and city guides, weather, currency exchange calculators, live flight information and mobile Internet access connected via mobile networks and WiFi. It even contains mobile room service and games to while away the time in your hotel room.


Boomerang will be offered, depending on partner, at little or no cost to the end user.


"The Boomerang will revolutionize the interaction that consumers have with their travel service providers," said Mordy Loksen, Co-Founder and CTO of adNav. "By offering a product with constant connectivity, we have a multitude of exciting applications already and many more in the works that create an accurate, reliable offering that will enhance any trip."


Boomerang will be available to travel service providers through adNav’s partner hotels and car hire companies as an added value concierge service for guests. Local recommendations will be constantly available via a connection through the virtual concierge desk.


When a traveler arrives at an adNav partner hotel or car rental, they will be offered full functioning voice guided GPS navigation, including unlimited access to the web through WiFi and cellular networks.


Additionally, users will have access to hundreds of pages of geo coded city and restaurant guides allowing them to touch the desired destination in the city guide and receive directions through GPS.

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deCarta Announces Traffic Manager
deCarta, a supplier of software platforms and services for the Location Based Services (LBS), have announced Traffic Manager at the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Francisco. It allows their customers to add traffic-enabled maps and routing to their LBS application.

deCarta's routing capabilities together with real-time traffic data from NAVTEQ Traffic contains capabilities for partner companies to include SatNav traffic-aware applications, corporate fleet tracking and high-volume map-based Yellow Page directories, map-enabled search engines and travel sites.


"Consumers and enterprise are both looking for information they can use to make practical and productive driving decisions rather than just guessing based on where the accidents are," said deCarta CEO J. Kim Fennell. "Armed with highly efficient real-time traffic-aware routing applications, both types of end users will find a faster and more efficient path to arriving at their destination."


NAVTEQ Traffic's real-time traffic data currently provides continuously updated traffic flow, delays and drive times as well as incident information across dozens of U.S and Canadian traffic areas. It includes information such as accidents, broken down vehicles, road construction and closures.


"deCarta has proven how to utilize traffic data to maximum effect in applications and they are at the forefront of answering the increasing demand for dynamic content capabilities," said Winston Guillory, senior vice president, consumer and enterprise, NAVTEQ. "The combination of their geospatial platform with the coverage and accuracy of NAVTEQ Traffic will drive a new class of location applications for consumers and enterprises."


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Non GPS items...

Other than the GPS and Location services there were lots of other diversions to keep us busy, but by far the most interesting was the mind reading device.


Now both Robert and I had the opportunity to try this out and it was a toss up to decide if the machine would find a conscious entity within our skulls, it was decided that it would have a marginally better chance with Robert... (not that I minded because I got to chat to the pretty merchandising lady).


Well Rob put the head gear on and after a little training was able to influence some activity on the screen by the power of thought alone. A true example of mind over matter...


Well that is the end of CTIA for this year. Next year the first of the two conferences will take place in Las Vegas during April.

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007

San Francisco CTIA Fall 2007


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Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website





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