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BlueSky crams GPS into SIM

Aptly named start up, BlueSky Positioning, said that it has managed to cram a “highly accurate” GPS receiver and proprietary antenna into a SIM card.

The move paves the way for operators to deploy positioning and Location Based Services (LBS) across all handsets, rather than those high end devices with integrated GPS.

BlueSky’s platform embeds Assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS) capability in the SIM card or USIM in the case of 3G handsets and claims to have minimal impact on signal strength and battery life.

The technology uses an assistance data server in the mobile network to reduce the location identification time, or Time To First Fix, and increase accuracy, particularly within buildings and densely populated areas.

Risto Savolainen, CEO of France-based BlueSky, said: “The LBS market has promised much and delivered little. This strengthened EU legislation to enhance public safety services will also catalyse the LBS market by putting the means of access into the hands of every user.”

The company is pitching its technology ahead of publication of a strengthened EU directive, expected later this year, under which EU member countries will have just 18 months to implement a law requiring operators to identify the precise location of callers to the E-112 emergency services, potentially to an accuracy level of just a few metres.

The directive is similar to the E-911 legislation in the US, which is designed to improve emergency services’ reaction and response times due to improved location accuracy and therefore increase levels of public safety.

“A new handset costs anywhere between Eur100 and Eur500 plus. A replacement (U)SIM is a tiny fraction of the cost. It’s a much smaller price to pay for better safety and the opportunity for a whole new range of applications,” Savolainen said.

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