TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Location Tracking - For People, Products, Places

Location Tracking - For People, Products, Places

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 11 Oct 2005 14:07:54 -0400

Location tracking -- for people, products, places -- is fast coming
into its own It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your _______ is?

By Andrew Caffrey, Globe Staff | October 10, 2005

In one operating room at Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors and
nurses wear radio tags that register their comings and goings on a
42-inch television screen so other members of the medical team know
who is attending the surgery at any given moment.

At an old-soldiers home in King, Wis., elderly residents who are at
risk of wandering off carry a small wireless beacon that signals their
location within a residential facility, and triggers an audio alert
over the public address system when one gets close to a potentially
risky area, such as a stairwell.

At the Illinois Institute of Technology, prospective students could
take a self-guided tour using a tablet PC that spits out information
on activities happening near where they are standing on the Chicago
campus or gives them architectural highlights of the Mies van der Rohe
building as they walk by.

Such tracking technologies, including new applications for Global
Positioning Systems, are coming to a campus, cafe, or care center near

After years of false starts and underwhelming results, systems for
locating people, places, and objects are finally finding themselves.
Once the province of the fanciful imagination of Q from the James Bond
series, location technologies are wending their way into ordinary
business practices and extraordinary human applications, from
monitoring the elderly to connecting a cardiac patient admitted to the
emergency room with the nearest surgeon.

The advances are being aided by upgrades in hand-held and other mobile
devices, which can now process prodigious amounts of data generated by
navigation and related technologies. Communications networks are more
robust and can provide more saturated coverage, and the costs of chip
sets for GPS and other tracking technologies have fallen steeply.

Indeed, consumers are now so accepting of mobile devices such as
cellphones that industry analysts predict they won't be reluctant to
adopt this next wave of newfangled technologies.

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