Wi-Fi Positioning Tech Comes to the Palm OS

A company called Ekahau has developed a new software based technology for determining a clients physical location within a wireless Wi-Fi network. The company has just announced support for the Palm OS and the Tungsten C handheld.

The Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE) now supports the Tungsten C handheld from palmOne, to enable a variety of wireless location based services for handheld users. . Ekahau has developed a Palm OS version of the Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE ) that allows the accurate positioning and tracking of connected handhelds.

Ekahau</a> Positioning Engine (EPE)EPE is a software-based location platform that allows WiFi enabled devices to be located anywhere within the footprint of a WiFi network. It provides precise real-time location information of mobile clients, such as PDAs, laptops and WiFi tags, along with device travel speed and heading. As one of the key features, EPE enables wireless applications to provide mobile users with location-sensitive information based on their exact location and profile.

Ekahau Positioning Engine is a positioning server that provides PC, PDA, and asset TAG location coordinates (x, y, floor) and tracking features to client applications. EPE includes a stand-alone Manager application for drawing the Ekahau Tracking Rails, recording site calibration data, tracking wireless devices on map, and statistically analyzing the positioning accuracy. The patented positioning technology features up to 1 meter (3 ft) average accuracy, enabling people and asset tracking both indoors and outdoors.

"We are very excited to be extending the capabilities of Ekahau to the palmOne user community worldwide. By location enabling palmOne devices, we see very exciting growth opportunities for Ekahau and palmOne in areas such as healthcare, education, hospitality, retail and general enterprise applications," stated Antti Korhonen, CEO of Ekahau. "palmOne users can now harness the power of location capabilities which will allow them quickly to locate people and assets in large campus environments such as hospitals and universities" stated Korhonen.

The company is also is extending its relationship to the Palm OS developer community to develop and deliver leading edge location-based solutions. These solutions will be targeted at a variety of industries such as retail where shoppers will be able to navigate large shopping malls and easily locate goods, to healthcare to allow caregivers to be located in emergencies and to be directed to find hospital equipment, patients and other caregivers.

Ekahau is targeting commercial availability of WiFi location enabled palmOne devices for early Q1 2004. Pricing is not known at this time.

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Mainstream Use?

Bartman007 @ 12/4/2003 12:30:07 PM #
Unless your in an area/building saturated with WiFi hotspots this doesn't seem like it would be too useful. I just it's a niche product that would work great at corporate headquarters and hospitals, not too many other places....


RE: Mainstream Use?
conflagrare @ 12/4/2003 12:52:35 PM #
Math / Geometry dictates that you must have signal to at least 3 wifi access point to get a 2-D location fix. after initial fix, the # of wifi can drop to 2. which means entire company must have double coverage (double the access point) for this to work.

the above is for 2-D fix only. to get 3-D fix (what floor you are on), we need 4 access point initially, and 3 to keep the tracking.

RE: Mainstream Use?
ganoe @ 12/4/2003 1:13:43 PM #
> Unless your in an area/building saturated with WiFi hotspots
> this doesn't seem like it would be too useful.

Yeah, but if you needed to do this, it would be dirt cheap in comparison to the other methods I can think of.

RE: Mainstream Use?
ganoe @ 12/4/2003 1:18:54 PM #
> it would be dirt cheap

OK, forget that. The APs would be cheap. Their software is expensive. $2000 and up depending on how many devices you track.

RE: Mainstream Use?
mhornyak @ 12/4/2003 2:10:35 PM #
Remember, GPS doesn't work indoors. The WiFi location system is used to locate things or people within rooms or buildings.

RE: Mainstream Use?
acaltabiano @ 12/4/2003 3:25:23 PM #
So, you have to have your Palm (with WI-FI)on, right? How many people are going to have their palms on continuously running wi-fi? and if they did, they would only run for like, less than an hour. This is utterly useless (especially since I don't own any corportations and have corportate employees).

RE: Mainstream Use?
pdouglas12 @ 12/4/2003 3:37:22 PM #
What a lame development.

1. If my wife wants to locate me in the house where my home Wi-Fi is, she can yell my name; in the office my secretary does the same thing. Maybe not classy, but it doesn't need software.

2. Nobody in my firm has a T/C. We all have T/Ts. Since the geniuses at Palm/SD can't make a Wi-Fi card for the T/T, even if this swell system were to be useful, perhaps in a big company building, almost nobody can use it with a Palm.

Just so frustrating.

RE: Mainstream Use?
BikerTech @ 12/4/2003 4:52:54 PM #
Wi-Fi locator? Check out this site: http://smartid.com.sg/
I purchased the WiFi locator and it works much better than the one manufactured by Kensinton.

RE: Mainstream Use?
mikecane @ 12/4/2003 7:20:11 PM #
Some people will ALWAYS be lost. No matter how high the tech, they'll always be higher!

RE: Mainstream Use?
Gar @ 12/4/2003 7:56:34 PM #
I would think this would be better for always on Bluetooth than 802.11.

My wife has to sell a lot of candles (www.ccandles.com) to buy her new Palm.

Locator spoofer

RhinoSteve @ 12/4/2003 7:56:10 PM #
Ok, now that someone can position you. Will there ever be any software you can put on your Palm that will counteract it being found? There are a few IR tricks for this like randomizing the lobe direction of your WiFi antenna and the packet burst rate.

The cat and mouse game is on!
RE: Locator spoofer
ozz @ 12/5/2003 9:57:14 AM #
Yep, you would probably want some means to override the EXACT positioning: otherwise, it would tell everyone that you are in the bathroom....and WHERE in the bathroom! OMG!

Lord, help me become the person my dog thinks I am!
RE: Locator spoofer
ganoe @ 12/5/2003 6:14:57 PM #
AFAIK, this needs software on the client (PDA) to work. So don't install it if you don't want to be located. You probably also have to tell it which positioning server to talk to on the client, so you pretty much know who is locating you anyhow.

Maybe this'll light a fire under SanDisk's a$$!

karrock @ 12/5/2003 7:50:58 AM #
Wow, imagine that! An extremely useful app using a Palm device and WiFi! But what's that you say? There's only one Palm OS device supported? Well, hey, that could be a whole lot more if some hardware manufacturer got off their lazy a$$e$ and wrote a nice little device driver for the Palm OS!


Pilot --> V --> m505 --> Tungsten T3

RE: Maybe this'll light a fire under SanDisk's a$$!
ganoe @ 12/5/2003 6:12:25 PM #
> WiFi! But what's that you say?
> There's only one Palm OS device supported?

Last I checked, there was something like a half dozen Sony devices as well as the HandEra 330 and TRGpro.

Maybe PalmOne needs to wake up on this too.



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