It was only a matter of time before the inherent capabilities for tracking cell phone users was put to good use. You probably have previously heard that stalkers have already discovered that they can triangulate cell phone signals and use it to precisely pinpoint the location of the individual they choose to stalk. Scary. But now Sprint is putting the cell phone capabilities to good use. Really good use.
According to an article in Wireless Week, Sprint Nextel has unveiled a new location-based service (LBS) designed to help parents track their children using their cell phone. The Sprint Family Locator service uses GPS technology.
The service, powered by WaveMarket, enables parents to pinpoint the location of their child. Parents can obtain the location’s address as well as surrounding landmarks from an interactive map. LBS enables parents to list up to 4 numbers they want to locate. Once a child is located, parents have the option to send a text message or call the child. Parents can also be alerted when children arrive at scheduled locations, such as school or home.
In today’s world, the ability to be automatically notified when your most precious “package” gets delivered to the desired location will be a great stress reliever. I predict this will push sales through the roof for Sprint, as a large population of parents of young to teenage children seek this peace of mind.
Sprint is currently offering the GPS-powered service for $9.99 a month, which includes unlimited location requests and the ability to send up to 100 text messages to a child’s phone. The carrier is initially offering the service for download on 17 different phone models.
Of course, we can already imagine how helpful — albeit Orwellian — this tool will be in managing our workforce as well, can’t we? How about that messenger or courthouse runner who takes hours to run errands you believe should be done in far less time? I had precisely that situation once, and it was only by dumb luck that I finally determined that the courthouse runner at one firm had a lengthy breakfast on the firm’s dime each and every day. And how about that young associate who keeps disappearing and doesn’t answer his cell phone?
This tool will enable employers to know precisely where their outside employees are at any time. Not only will the monitoring help to eliminate personal side trips on the company dime, it will enable a company to respond more nimbly to customer emergencies. By just glancing at a computer screen, a company will be able to determine who is closest to the desired location, and connect to that particular person without making lots of wasted calls.
While the Sprint service is targeted at consumers, wireless LBS for employers is already rapidly growing in popularity, according to a new report from In-Stat, which is owned by the same parent as Wireless Week. The research firm predicts wireless location services for businesses could top 1 million subscribers by 2010.
WaveMarket Inc. is a pioneer in location-based solutions, with platforms and applications designed to meet the needs of both consumers and enterprise customers. Their various products turn any mobile device user into an on-location broadcaster. Their platforms facilitate the user friendly collection, sharing and delivery of information.
Stay tuned folks, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about this.