Much Ado About WhereBy CWNP On 11/10/2008 - 8 Comments
First, there was a defensive strategy: Meru's RF Barrier. Very nice. Then, Agito added locationing to their systems whereby each phone can "calibrate" areas in such a way that they're drawing a physical line of where/when to move to/from cell tower to/from Wi-Fi network. No scanning-for-WiFi all the time (saving battery life) because when you get to a certain cell tower, you know you're "at home" or "at work" and start looking for Wi-Fi. Seriously cool. Now, I'm hearing talk of adding "where" to system authentication. No longer will it be enough to have your username/password (and/or other credentials)...now you have to physically be in the right location also. WAY Cool! Why so much focus on "where?"
Real-Time Locationing (tracking stuff and people), context-aware applications, the list is endless. If "they" know where you are, they can focus on gathering and reporting "more relevant" information. Suppose you travel from your company's HQ office to a branch office. When you connect to the Wi-Fi network and access internal servers, information specific to that location can be delivered to you rather than you having to sort through vast amounts of irrelevant data. The same context-aware mechanisms apply to retail - think about connecting to the Internet over Wi-Fi in an Apple store. Location-specific content can be delivered to your iPhone when connected to their Wi-Fi network (like store specials or something similar). Sweet.
I'm always hearing about how VoWiFi is the killer app. Maybe for today, but MARK MY WORDS, RTLS is the end-game. It will wear many faces (authentication, intrusion protection, people/goods tracking, context-aware apps, etc.), but it will become the most pervasive technology the world has ever seen. The Wi-Fi infrastructure providers need to focus much time/effort on this topic over the next 5 years if they want to keep up. Yeah, yeah, I know you're thinking, "this guy sure makes some radical predictions" and "what if he's wrong?" I'm not. :)