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The middleware consists of Wireless Markup Language (WML) and JSP, and it is deployed on a Tomcat Web server. The application that runs on the mobile device has been developed using J2ME. On the device front, the handset should have Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi connectivity. As Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both device-oriented features, this LBS service will work on any device that is Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled, irrespective of the manufacturer or mobile service subscribed to.
The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi edge
The advantage of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is that they can give location-specific details. For instance, if a base station is set up in the New Delhi railway station, it would give information regarding the arrival, departure and status of trains pertaining to only that station. GPRS, on the other hand, does not remain location-specific—it would give information about all trains at all railway stations.
“The novelty of Find Location is that the base station can provide services and location-specific information to heterogeneous mobile devices. Most of the researchers working in this field are trying to provide LBS over GPRS connections. Our proposed LBS platform utilises Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, when the device is in the vicinity of the base station,” points out Pampa Sadhukan.
The students aim to make their technology commercially available in the coming days and to also make it affordable. It is for this reason that they have opted for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth rather than GPRS, which is a paid-for service and does not have very good connectivity in closed areas (buildings, railway stations etc).
The road ahead
“In our proposed architecture, mobile devices would be able to invoke services anywhere in this world. This LBS platform could be used in the banking sector, in university campuses, airports and railway stations to invoke location-specific interactive applications from handheld devices. Service providers could integrate this LBS platform into their existing network toprovide LBS to consumers,” saysProf Das.
The next stage in the project is ‘Content Mapping’. Presently, with the Find Location service, the user gets the name of and the information related to that location, but the new service will display a map on the screen of the mobile device, with the path between the current location of the consumer (obtained from the ‘Find Location’ function) and the desired destination (specified by the consumer) highlighted.One can wave goodbye to getting lost, if that happens.