Devicescape has entered the WiFi location business, offering a software-based positioning service called SoftGPS that can be incorporated into WiFi-enabled mobile devices and provide location awareness without GPS hardware.
Devicescape, which is now pitting itself against Skyhook Wireless' service, said the service can function over many types of WiFi networks without full authentication and can be embedded on the device to function in a standalone manner. The firm said SoftGPS can also be utilized to translate WiFi access locations (BSSIDs) to geocodes, allowing location data to be determined later by mobile and server-based applications.
For devices with GPS hardware, SoftGPS can be used to gain a rough location and reduce startup delays, and to provide location indoors and in other areas where the GPS signal is compromised, Devicescape said.
The benefits Devicescape touts include: low cost, flexible implementation and a large location database consisting of several million WiFi locations that are created and maintained by monitoring of its millions of Easy WiFi clients.
Competitor Skyhook also gathers information from mobile devices, mostly smartphones but it does so through a fleet of some 500 trucks driving around with laptops and wireless antennas to read WiFi, cellular tower and GPS signals to map the locations. The company has amassed a database of about 50 billion scanned records of these signals and now has deals with the likes of Samsung and Motorola.
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