E911 Provider TCS to Buy Location Software Company

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2004-09-13
 
 
 

TeleCommunication Systems Inc. on Monday announced that it has agreed to acquire mobile applications provider Kivera Inc.

TCS is already the leading provider of Enhanced 911 services in the United States, covering about half the population, according to a spokesperson for the Annapolis, Md.-based company. Using its existing abilities to provide precise locations of wireless users, TCS can route emergency calls to the proper authority and also provide the exact location of the caller to those authorities.

Oakland, Calif.-based Kivera adds the new capability to tie TCS location information to mapping applications. This will improve E911 eventually, but in the immediate future it also provides significant new capabilities for existing TCS carrier customers.

Kivera brings three new platforms to TCS: a location engine, a traffic server, and an alert and notification server. According to TCS Chief Technology Officer Drew Morin, this means that carriers can deliver traffic routing information dynamically to customers based on where they are at any given moment.

The immediate applications are obvious. A wireless carrier can send traffic alerts to customers in real time, based on traffic density and flow data received by traffic sensors. This traffic information can be used to ease commutes, as well as for routing emergency services and commercial traffic. TCS already provides an early version of this capability through Verizons wireless network.

Morin said that combining Kiveras applications with TCS existing ability to provide precise locations of wireless users will enable TCS to offer a new "points of interest" capability that will allow wireless users to search for specific services or businesses, such as the nearest ATM or the nearest Starbucks, based on their location at the time. TCS already has a version of this service operating in Europe and is expecting to expand the capability to the United States using Kiveras geographic information system.

Click here to read about the increasing commercial support for location-based services.

Morin also said that the merger will be a new opportunity for VARs and developers. Both companies include APIs for their software already, and these will be combined into a broader-reaching capability. "Were going to open up the doors to third-party developers," Morin said. "Well provide a complete tool set."

Kivera currently supports wireless applications on devices using BREW [Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless], WAP [Wireless Application Protocol], J2ME [Java 2 Platform, Mobile Edition] and Symbian. Currently, it provides applications to Verizon, AT&T, Cingular, Sprint PCS, Alltel and Virgin Mobile. Morin said that other carriers will be added to the mix because of existing relationships with TCS.

TCS has been demonstrating applications using this technology to the Department of Homeland Security near Seattle using the T-Mobile network, Morin said.

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