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Wireless Networks That Know Where You Are

Techstination feature for Tuesday, May 4, 2004

A wireless network that knows where you are. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The spread of wireless WiFi networks continues….in homes, businesses and public spaces. They make it simple to connect to the Internet from WiFi equipped notebook PCs and PDAs. But using software being sold by a company called PanGo Networks…those WiFi systems…can pinpoint your location…and deliver content based on that. Marketing VP Rick Thompson says it can be useful, for instance, in tourist areas….

"We've talked to folks in Hawaii who want to accompany PDAs with folks once they get off their planes either from the U.S. or other countries and have specific language based and content based cultural tours which could include some advertisements and things like that as part of it. But essentially delivery of content to users based on where they are."

At lunch time…the network could deliver an ad to your PDA for a nearby restaurant. Thompson says theme parks are looking at the technology to track the whereabouts of children. And about the privacy issues…

"It would be probably a paid service so it would be for the benefit of the user. For example at a theme park or something like that…then they would probably pay extra for that service. But it wouldn't be something that everyone who went in there was tracked…so the privacy issues would be handled through the fact that the users would want to be tracked for their own benefit."

The system has been tested by the Tate Modern Museum in London….and the New Media Institute at the University of Georgia. PanGo says the technology costs as little as 10 thousand dollars to deploy. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.