Sunday, June 29, 2008

Skyhook Wireless Unveils Hybrid Positioning System 2.0

Skyyhook Wireless released the second generation of its hybrid positioning system, combining signals from Wi-Fi access points, GPS satellites and cell towers. The system is aimed at mass market handsets, especially those supporting location-based services (LBS).

Skyhook Wireless said its XPS 2.0 systems combines positioning algorithms with comprehensive environment survey data. XPS builds on top of the revolutionary Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) that is already deployed on tens of millions of mobile devices worldwide. The original version of XPS delivered "multi-mode" location switching between WPS and GPS readings based on availability and error estimates. XPS 2.0 combines raw Wi-Fi, GPS and cell tower readings to produce a single hybrid calculation.

In the most difficult indoor and urban environments, XPS can, for example, leverage signals from just two GPS satellites to improve Wi-Fi location accuracy by 35%+. In a typical deep urban setting Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) can only produce a location 70% of the time outdoors due to blocked signals, according to Skyhook. In these difficult urban environments, XPS utilizes weak GPS signals along with Wi-Fi to produce the most accurate location possible 100% of the time. Responsiveness is critical in consumer applications and XPS delivers a full GPS/Wi-Fi/cellular hybrid location in just 4 second from a complete cold start compared to 30-60 seconds with just A-GPS.

The addition of cell tower positioning increases availability so that users always get a location calculation regardless of environment. Additionally, XPS delivers 5 to 10 times better power conservation than A-GPS alone due to the unequaled acquisition time and accuracy in XPS.

XPS also introduces vertical location to the Skyhook system even in areas where GPS is not available. The new stationary detection techniques in XPS reduce jitter and improve the pedestrian user experience. Lastly, XPS can provide A-GPS techniques to offline equipment like Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) dramatically shortening startup times.

As part of the XPS 2.0 launch, Skyhook Wireless is also introducing its first cellular positioning system leveraging Skyhook's fleet of field signal surveyors. Today the system covers major US and European cities expanding to full Skyhook global coverage by the end of 2008.

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