Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Fall and Rise of Location Based Services

It's about time we introduced here our fellows at Lancaster University - The Mobile Radicals. The Mobile Radicals are a freeform collection of dedicated mobile researchers based principally within the Informatics Group from the Department of Communication Systems at Lancaster University. They are experts in the creation of novel mobile entertainment/commerce systems and applications and this site provides for the wider dissemination of their activities.

The Mobileradicals blog - also see our links - has a recent post on The Fall and Rise of Location Based Service

'Location based services (LBS) were one of the new emerging technologies that appeared and fell with the WAP non-revolution. The concept of providing information and facilities based on your physical location was simple and intuitive, but over hyped. During the early days of WAP capable mobile phones, BT Cellnet in conjunction with the then un-deregulated 192 service and Yellow Pages would allow you to find such useful things as a curry house when out on the town after a few too many pints. The idea was great and full of promise, but alas didn’t really work.

The public understandably were confused by the fact that if they were standing outside their favourite curry house and asked for the nearest, the service would often point them to one that was at best a few hundred yards away. The problem was that the service used the mobile network CellID to determine your location.

Each mobile service providers’ network is split up into areas called cells. Each cell is operated by one (or occasionally more) radio masts. When a mobile phone connects to the service provider’s network, it locates the strongest signal it can find and ‘logs in’ to that cell. Each cell has a unique id called the CellID. Each cell can only support a certain number of users within the area.'

Looking forward to keeping in touch with developments over at the Mobileradicals!

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