Polaris Wireless, provider of E911 location solutions, expects to launch its hybrid solution with a Tier 1 U.S. wireless operator in the first quarter of 2016, the company revealed in an ex-parte filing with the FCC. The filing does not identify the operator with which it will launch.
Earlier this year, the FCC voted to adopt new rules intended to improve how first responders locate people who dial 911 on their wireless phones from indoor locations, including in multi-story buildings. Finding callers inside buildings has been a big problem for the industry, in part because satellite-based systems can't penetrate inside buildings, yet more calls are originating indoors.
Specifically, Polaris said in its filing that it will launch its measurement-domain and position-domain hybrid solution, which uses cellular, augmented global navigation satellite system (A-GNSS), observed time difference of arrival (OTDOA) and other technologies with the Tier 1 operator. Polaris also has commercialized its accurate vertical height "z-axis" solution for public safety applications and completed live trials with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and international security organizations, the filing states.
Polaris says it has deployed its WLS/A-GPS position-domain hybrid solution on 2G and 3G networks domestically and on 2G, 3G and 4G networks internationally. Because Polaris doesn't currently serve any of the four nationwide carriers, it wasn't given an opportunity to participate in a first phase of the test bed.
The objective of the first test bed is for nationwide carriers to demonstrate their compliance with interim benchmarks. Polaris currently does serve non-nationwide carriers. The company is optimistic, however, that it will be allowed to participate in a second phase of testing designed for next-generation technologies.
When the FCC adopted its new indoor location rules, it noted that "no single technological approach will solve the challenge of indoor location, and no solution can be implemented overnight." As a result, the FCC said the new requirements let carriers "choose the most effective solutions and allow sufficient time for development of applicable standards, establishment of testing mechanisms and deployment of new location technology."
Debate over which location solutions best meet the needs of the wireless operators, dispatchers, first responders and consumers has been ongoing for years. But Bhavin Shah, vice president of marketing and business development at Polaris, told FierceWirelessTech there's now general agreement that one technology can't solve it all, and a combination of technologies is required when considering all the different types of devices, indoor and outdoor environments and the difficulty GPS faces in certain environments.
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