The Problem in a Nutshell

 

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There are many systems which can be used to locate people or objects.  Some systems rely upon (modulated) light, which is great until the user puts their mobile device in a pocket or bag.  Others utilise bluetooth radio beacons, but these only work over a very short range and hence large numbers are needed to cover a reasonable area.  They also only allow the users to locate themselves; the system operators can learn nothing unless the users expressly consent to providing their information and pay (in data charges) for the privilege.  Furthermore, since they can only say “I’m here”, they require a third-party communications channel (typically either cellular or Wi-Fi) in order to download related information, respond to offers, or post them on social media, etc.

The obvious solution to these issues is to use Wi-Fi, both as the communications medium and the geolocation means.  Historically, such solutions have been both inaccurate and slow.  Even where claimed accuracies are reasonable, their reliance upon multiple access points for geolocation, amongst other issues, means that they are slow.  They will tell you where your customer was many seconds or even minutes ago and not where they are now.  In the meantime, the customer has moved on…