Media Contact
June 09, 2008

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WORCESTER, Mass. – Leaders in wireless location technology from industry and academia will gather at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on June 16 and 17, 2008, for the inaugural International Workshop on Opportunistic RF Localization for Next Generation Wireless Devices. The workshop will focus on the challenges of developing methods for accurately and reliably determining the position of cell phones and PDAs, technology that is at the heart of a new generation of mobile communications applications.

“Within just the past year, location technology has emerged as a core element in wireless communications,” notes conference general chair Kaveh Pahlavan, professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI and director of the university’s Center for Wireless Information Networks. “Already, consumers are using GPS, Wi-Fi positioning, and cell tower triangulation for navigation, social networking, and location-based searching. Wireless companies are anxious to expand on these uses, for example, by delivering content or applications specifically tied to a wireless user’s proximity to businesses or other locations.”

Pahlavan says the challenge wireless providers face in delivering location-based services is that consumers expect them to be precise, highly reliable, and always available. Meeting these expectations will require new technologies that capitalize on existing wireless infrastructure. “In addition to traditional GPS satellites,” he says, “there are hundreds of millions of WLAN access points, tens of thousands of cell towers, and many broadcasting towers for radio and TV services. These can be exploited opportunistically to locate wireless devices outdoors and indoors. The differences in bandwidth, coverage, localization algorithms, and geographical distribution of these sources provide opportunities for creating new hybrid localization technologies.”

WPI, which enjoys an international reputation for its research in wireless networks and RF localization, organized the workshop to bring together leading researchers, business leaders and applications engineers to define a vision for ubiquitous localization and to discuss how the wireless industry can respond to that vision. The participants, which include researchers and executives from such wireless technology and location technology leaders as Verizon Wireless, Skyhook Wireless, Broadcom, and Qualcomm, will review the state of current technologies, business models, and standards, and explore how they might be modified to meet evolving consumer demands.

To learn more about the invitation-only workshop, visit the workshop website. Media interested in attending the workshop should contact Michael Dorsey, WPI director of research communications, at or 508-831-5609.