In a world with billions of connected sensors, advanced location positioning technology is unlocking new opportunities for businesses everywhere. HERE Technologies, provider of location services to the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, and MediaTek, one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies, announced a collaboration to enable the HERE Network Positioning solution on select MediaTek chipsets.
“We are pleased to work with HERE to connect the next billion to the devices and technologies they want,” said YuChuan Yang, Deputy General Manager of Internet of Things Business Unit, MediaTek. “Network positioning is a crucial component of the connected experience and HERE’s database improves positioning accuracy significantly. We look forward to continuing to blend our strengths with those of HERE for the benefit of our customers around the world.”
HERE Network Positioning employs proprietary technology to determine a device’s location rapidly and accurately based on mobile network and Wi-Fi signals. As part of this collaboration, MediaTek offers to device manufacturers a 4-in-1 combo solution based on the MediaTek MT2503 product family, a highly integrated ARM-based SiP design that contains Bluetooth, multiple GNSS receivers and an integrated 2G modem. In one of the first implementations, 3G Electronics, a China-based IoT customer of MediaTek, recently introduced a children’s smartwatch series called KidsWatch, which is powered by MediaTek chipsets featuring HERE’s Network Positioning solution in products sold outside China.
“HERE delivers fast and accurate global positioning services for any device anywhere, both indoors and outdoors, and online and offline when connectivity is not available,” said Erminio Di Paola, Head of Tracking at HERE. “Wherever you are, we can enable a device to locate your position to within a few meters, and even the floor you’re on within a multi-story building. We are delighted to work alongside MediaTek to enable new technologies for products around the globe.”
MediaTek has connected more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide a year and creates platforms for trackers and intelligent wearables, home and office appliances, and connected facilities. Today, the company is a category leader in key consumer electronic areas including phones, digital TVs and android tablets.
How HERE Network Positioning works
Most smart devices today use Assisted GNSS services. These supplement satellite services, such as the United States’ GPS network of satellites, Russia’s GLONASS satellites and China’s Beidou system, with position information obtained over an Internet connection to provide a faster first fix of the device’s position. For most applications, this means people can start using a map or other location-based service within a couple of seconds.
HERE positioning technology goes further. Network positioning is a technology that uses a device’s built-in appetite for radio signals to obtain a fix. When connected, a smartphone is continually looking for cellular network signals and Wi-Fi networks. By compiling this information, it can be turned into an ever-growing map of the planet’s radio environment, which is exactly what HERE has done. A subset of this radio map can also be preloaded in the device and provide the service offline. Today, HERE has a global database of hundreds of millions of cellular towers and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Using this system, HERE positioning services can look at the list of which cellular and Wi-Fi networks are available and derive the device’s position. By knowing which signals are in range, the device can work out exactly where it is. Since this technology uses the existing measurement technology of smartphones and most other connected devices, network positioning does not require any additional power-consumption and re-uses the signals already obtained.
Accurate tracking of goods, people, and things
HERE is already serving several solution providers and device manufacturers with positioning services, incorporated into their own software. The cloud based APIs offered by HERE open a new world of possibilities for the accurate tracking of goods, people, and things. This allows developers, logistics providers, and other customers to, for example, accurately track inventory and offer truly accurate and efficient supply chain management capabilities.