December 17, 2013

Ambient Location

4 minute read

locationarrowWe’ve reached an interesting predicament. We’re constantly on the move, and we want our devices to keep up. We want smart devices – ones that feed us what we need at just the right time. Oh, and we want these devices to be secure and have a respectable battery life. Ironically, the necessary power to make devices mobile is ruining our ability to use them the way we want.

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on a plane this year. With Inpixon, my travels have bounced me from coast to coast and internationally weekly. I depend on my device for plane tickets, hotel reservations, dinner locations and weather predictions in addition to the regular phone and email capabilities. I need and appreciate my phone giving me what I want, when I need it and in relation to where I am. The people behind me in the security lines appreciate the time saved as my boarding pass pops up instantly as I get closer to the gate.

There are two thoughts battling here:

  1. Leave location on and keep your charger nearby. Precise locationing is based on your mobile device’s transmissions. With WiFi on, their locations are more precise and many apps may use GPS and WiFi to gain location information even if they aren’t currently “on” or being used on your device.
  2. Turn it off and lose functionality. Leaving on WiFi can be a security risk if you don’t take the necessary precautions such as not allowing your device to automatically jump onto any available network. This is Security 101. However, turning off WiFi and GPS locationing may reduce some risks and increase your battery life, but it also greatly reduces what these smart devices can do.

But wait, there’s more. Security and privacy is getting a lot of attention lately as reports of the NSA using phone records and location of US citizens, not just internationally, and harvesting this information. If this is constitutional is still in debate.

The fact is this: we’ve developed these amazing devices that operate with incredible applications, all in an effort to improve our quality of life and ease in which we move through the day. Why would we want to stifle it?

It’s like anything else we do – we need to prepare for success or deal with the consequences. It’s the holiday season and new shiny devices are everywhere with impressive capabilities (have you seen the Kinect with the Xbox One?). It’s unlikely you walk outside without looking out the window or checking your weather app to see what it’ll be like. You might not depend on it as much as I do (Southern California and Maryland never have the same conditions), but it’s testament to how we prepare every day in order to succeed. So, treat your phone and tablet like something you care about – be thoughtful on how it works.

Location is becoming everything. Outfitted with the right knowledge, you and your mobile device are going to be an unbeatable pair and the world will assemble around you.

Topic(s): positioning

Adam Hensel

Adam Hensel was a senior sales and engineering leader at AirPatrol from 2008-2013.

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