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Kiwi Tech Set to Help Worldwide Emergency Services

Kiwi Tech Set to Help Worldwide Emergency Services
Kiwi Location Positioning Technology Set to Help Worldwide Emergency Services Rescue Lives

Celsius Technology develops location position technology for
US to locate emergency 911 callers

Auckland –based Celsius Technology, has developed SmartPoint, a world first, cellular location software solution based on artificial intelligence. SmartPoint enables wireless carriers with GSM and GPRS networks to implement a 100% software solution without network modification or new hardware. It has been designed to meet the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate requirements to improve the security and safety of cellular callers using the 911 emergency services, through accurately locating the position of cellular users.

SmartPoint has been developed for Network Technology Limited® (NETTEC), a provider of software based cellular location systems. “With global security issues around wireless devices, governments are looking to put into place regulations that ensure safety for users and the public alike,” says Kerry Allan Harris, Technical Director for Network Technology Limited. “Celsius has worked over the five years to crystallise our ideas. The technology has now been developed to the specifications required to take it internationally and enable us to talk with major telecommunication providers in the US.”

Public safety risks from unidentified cellular callers solved

In 1996 the FCC set enhanced 911 (E911) rules to improve the reliability of wireless 911 services, by providing information that would enable emergency personnel to quickly locate and provide assistance to callers. By October 2001 wireless carriers were required to provide Automatic Location Identification (ALI) technologies.

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NETTEC sought out five years ago, a team of talented young engineers from Auckland University to develop the SmartPoint software for location positioning. Three years later that team formed Celsius Technology and went on to develop ideas collaboratively. NETTEC and Celsius have seen the opportunity to be the primary providers for the wireless location-based services market, through refining the SmartPoint technology to meet the performance specifications outlined in the FCC wireless E911 requirements.

“The unique feature of the software is the ability to update itself, adding in newly installed cell sites to its database and making corrections for environmental changes,” says Bruce Maunder, Co-Founder of Celsius Technology. “Celsius has such a firm belief in the international success of SmartPoint, that we have taken a shareholding with Network Technology.”

Demanding performance specifications

There are presently two technologies with location positioning. The FCC rules allow for carriers to use phone-centric technologies through modifying cellular phones. However, the FCC had originally envisioned that carriers would need to deploy network-based technologies as the most practical option to improve the reliability of emergency services. Carriers filed for an extension of the October 1, 2001 deadline on the basis of the estimated US$2 billion cost of implementing the current systems, which rely on specialised hardware enhanced by GPS satellites.

Celsius has employed high-level mathematical processes to develop SmartPoint's network centric technology that requires no change to wireless infrastructure. It uses neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence that attempts to imitate the way a human brain works. Algorithms analyse the received signal strength, network data and signal arrival time to determine the position of the device. The calculated location information can be fed to any geographical information systems in any format and then be displayed on a map.

With 300 GSM networks installed in around 142 countries, SmartPoint has the ability to operate worldwide and lead to a new generation of applications. Mobile location and information services are forecast to be worth US$81.9 billion by 20051. By using information on a mobile user’s location from a network, a unique range of personal cellular services can be on offered such as traffic information, maps and nearby businesses and services that can be taken advantage of.

Future applications

Celsius has been demonstrating the technology to Digital Earth Works Ltd, a Dublin-based technology and service developer for the Location Based Services (LBS) industry. NETTEC has formed a partnership with Digital Earth Works to jointly deliver SmartPoint to the US.

Celsius continues to improve the accuracy of the positioning and optimising the neural network configuration. When the SmartPoint project commenced the accuracy was within 500 meters. It’s now reduced to less than 100 meters. The FCC’s legal requirement for location accuracy and reliability for network-based solutions is 100 meters for 67 percent of calls and 300 meters for 95 percent of calls.

Field testing has also been conducted through the support of wireless carrier Vodafone, where location accuracy less than 100m for 92% of the time was obtained.

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