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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Association Says Indoor E911 Location Technology Not Ready

As reported by GPS World: In a recent FCC filing, the Telecommunications Industry Association said that indoor positioning technology is not sufficiently developed to support ongoing wireless E-911 location accuracy requirements.

While TIA supports the FCC’s goal to improve location accuracy, “Imposing location accuracy mandates at this time would be premature, given the nascent stage of the technology that will be needed to accomplish the Commission’s objectives, and should neither favor nor disfavor specific technologies,” said the association in its filing.

The NPRM proposes a requirement to achieve “rough” indoor location information, TIA said. It proposes to require providers to provide horizontal information for wireless 911 calls that originate indoors, specifically a caller’s location within 50 meters.

TIA also disagrees with an FCC proposal to require mobile operators to provide z-axis, which is vertical location within 3 meters of a caller’s location, for 67 percent and 80 percent of indoor wireless 911 calls — ranging from three to five years after adoption. Again, TIA says that the technology is not fully developed.

TIA quoted AT&T’s filing: “[The] time [is] right to begin discussing Indoor Location Accuracy for E-911” but the “FCC should be careful to ensure that any proposed rules on location accuracy are aligned with proven capabilities of the current state of technology and they should set realistic accuracy benchmarks that the industry and public safety can embrace.”

The location industry has been counting on indoor positioning, with its beacons and Wi-Fi enhancements, to jump-start a location-based services market that always seems to have tremendous potential, but the numbers don’t back it up. Some big-time analysts have said that while the promise of indoor positioning is huge, it just isn't there technically yet.

In fact, one analyst said that the biggest technological breakthrough last year was indoor mapping. Such major retailers as Home Depot and Lowes launched indoor maps with product search locators. These same analysts say that indoor Wi-Fi positioning is not accurate enough for macro location.

The big deal coming up is how FCC positioning accuracy regulations will affect beacons or Bluetooth low energy for micro location and proximity services.

TIA said it supports initial FCC location accuracy requirements back to 2007. However, don’t ask TIA for more location regulation. “To date, the development of 911 and E911 location accuracy technologies and applications has been fostered by a voluntary and consensus-based standards process. This process has proven quite successful to date, and the Commission should refrain from imposing regulations that could slow additional development,” the association said.