LBS as a technology will not only ensure national security, but will also give socio-economic benefits to both consumers and enterprises
As the mobile communications market grows, the available technologies and capabilities continue to evolve. Today’s mobile devices are enabled with a rich set of features. One of the most important features is the ability to use the wireless infrastructure of a cellular network to identify the location of any mobile device. Governments across the world have been using this technology for safeguarding their establishment both from internal as well as external threat.
Implementing and Defining LBS
In order to implement LBS, the Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India has come out with a new notification on May 31, 2011, which focuses on the amendment of the Unified Access Service License (UASL) agreement for security-related concerns for the expansion of telecom services in various zones of the country.
Technologies used by the operators for LBS include cell IM, enhanced cell IM, LMU, GPS, and A-GPS solutions. Cell IM is the simplest and most common form of location positioning and identifies which cell site or sector is currently serving the mobile device. The accuracy of cell IM location varies with the density of network cell sites deployment—greater density yields greater accuracy. Enhanced cell IM helps in determining the mobile location based upon timing advanced and network measurement reports on a cell sector.
In India, there are 4 players that are active on the LBS front—Creativity Software, CommScope, Ericsson, and Polaris Software. Phile Creativity Software uses predictive matching, Polaris Pireless opts for RF pattern matching, Ericsson uses fingerprinting, whereas CommScope uses multiple technologies.
Creativity Software has completed 2 pilots—one for a major operator and second for a new entrant. The different regions covered during the pilot include South Mumbai, Andheri, Panvel, Pune, and Ludhiana with different terrains, including urban, sub-urban, and rural environment. In all the cases, the Creativity Software results conform to the MoT mandate till 2014 in terms of accuracy requirement.
Polaris Pireless has tested its technology through blind trials in Bengaluru environment of which over 70% of calls were within 50 m and over 90% of calls were within 100 m (MoT mandate is 30% and 60%, respectively), proving that the company has best-in-class performance in urban environments. Their performance has not been impacted by the wireless device being indoors/outdoors. Recently, the company has tied up with CanvasM, a division of Tech Mahindra, to explore location opportunities in India.
Deploying LBS Technologies
The LBS technologies have been deployed in many countries, thereby giving enough confidence to the operators that such an accuracy requirement can be met.
Apart from meeting the MoT specifications, with respect to security-related concerns, LBS can also be used by the operators to launch location-enabled applications, which would help both enterprises and consumers. Operators can also do a quick launch of commercial services, thereby generating RoI for the company.