GPS Mandatory On Mobile Phones By 2018 - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
10/5/2011
11:11 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

GPS Mandatory On Mobile Phones By 2018

To modernize the 911 system, the FCC has ruled that all wireless carriers must offer GPS; VoIP services also.

In an effort to modernize the 911 system, the Federal Communications Commission issued a rule Sept. 27 that will mandate that all U.S. carriers include GPS in their phones by 2018. That includes VoIP services as well. The goal is to allow emergency workers to find your position when you dial 911, similar to the way they can when you call via landlines.

Finding people via landline is pretty easy. The 911 operator can simply look up the address based on the number dialed from. With mobile phones it obviously isn't so simple, as the phones move around--hence the term "mobile." It is possible to narrow the area by triangulating based on the towers in the phone's range, but that can only get you within a few city blocks at best. The only way to truly zero in on a caller is with GPS.

Most smartphones today have GPS built in. It is, in fact, one of the big selling points. Just as phones have killed off the cheap camera market, they are in the process of killing the low-end dedicated GPS device. Mapping and location-based services, even if just checking in on a social network, are among the most used features on smartphones.

According to Electronista, 85% of current phones already have GPS. That isn't really the issue though. By 2018, I cannot imagine a phone not having GPS available. What is an issue are VoIP services.

Google Voice, for example, lets you use a virtual phone number. That call isn't routed through your carrier's voice network. In fact, if you are on Wi-Fi, it isn't routed through the carrier's network at all, and the software isn't sending location data along with the signal. The same goes for video calling.

The rule still needs to be voted on before carriers have to abide by it. For those concerned with the government tracking them, the FCC has clarified that the rule will allow carriers to sell devices without GPS. With that little caveat thrown in there, I'm not sure how that differs much from today's situation. Even with that loophole though, I don't see too many carriers bothering to carry non-GPS enabled phones, at least in retail locations. Those phones would just collect dust, similar to the way camera-less phones do today.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll