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Cisco, Qualcomm team up to create tracking chip tech

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Vid Qualcomm and Cisco are collaborating to produce better location-tracking technology using networking gear and the Snapdragon chip otherwise found in smartphones.

The process uses Cisco's new HotSpot 2.0 wireless routers, which can pinpoint a connected user's position within a couple of metres; good enough for following one around a museum or shopping centre. To get the location, an app accesses Qualcomm's Snapdragon system-on-a-chip to fetch the data from the wireless network hardware, as the companies have showcased at the American Museum of Natural History:

Location tracking is nothing new, but doing it indoors (out of sight of all those useful satellites) is really hard. Qualcomm and Cisco are using Wi-Fi fingerprinting, noting the identity of nearby hotspots at known locations, to achieve the level of accuracy required.

Qualcomm provides a Snapdragon SDK for Android devices powered by its chip, which extends the existing Location Manager with a QC Location Manager, providing the option to request "precise indoor positioning" if it's available.

Accurate tracking is undoubtedly useful but it's surprisingly hard to do. Wi-Fi fingerprinting is the technology of the hour as the world waits for Bluetooth 4, which promises much greater accuracy. ®

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