Mobiles pinpoint location

Mobiles pinpoint location
Jon Mainwaring The first off-the-shelf mobile phones that transmit user location details will be available within two years, according to BT. BT Labs is working on MOSA (Mobile Social Alarm), a device that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology. The company expects the phone to be bought by people who are concerned about becoming lost, or have health problems, like diabetics. Steve Furner, engineering psychologist at BT Labs’ Human Factors Unit, explained that the idea for MOSA came about last year when the research facility held a discussion between BT technologists and representatives from the public. “They were looking at ways in which telecommunications technology could be used to reduce vulnerability in the community,” he said. According to Furner, MOSA is being developed because, unlike with fixed telephones, mobile users are more likely to “have to find out some way of describing their location, which can be difficult”. One issue to be resolved is how receivers of calls make use of position signals being sent to them. A possible solution being considered is to set up call centres which hold the MOSA owner’s details such as age, health problems, and contact details of next of kin.


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