I'm letting you know about a really cool new innovation that in essence turns all cell phones that have a SIM card into GPS enabled devices (even the old ones)!
It's a Finnish founded & lead company called BlueSky Positioning and you can find their interwebz pages here:
The company is founded by CEO Mr. Risto Savolainen who worked together with me on Taika Technologies. I consider Risto to be one of my mentors.
They have discovered quite an innovation: a way to cheaply mass-manufacture SIM cards that have a highly accurate GPS receiver and a proprietary antenna built into the card itself. To my understanding particularly the antenna is a very unique invention. This is very significant for a couple of reasons:
1) It turns all cell phones (even old ones) into GPS devices and allows a whole range of data-intensive apps to be run on them like never before. This is probably as close as it gets to the "wet dream of the telco carriers", as it drives up data traffic and revenue potentially by huge amounts.
2) The product is a huge game changer for all SIM card manufacturers: who have seen their profits become increasingly slim and prices go down. They sell SIM cards for less than 1 EUR each these days, and a product like this is a dramatic game changer for them: they can once again manufacture a high-value-adding product that will have more than 10-fold the price and far better margins.
3) The EU and the US are coming up with legislation (namely the E112 and E911 respectively) that requires accurate positioning information to be provided by the phone for emergency services in case of an emergency call. There probably isn't a better way to comply with this legislation than this particular product.
CC Attribution: Un Manué@Flickr
I have understood that this product of theirs is unique and nobody can do the same stuff better at the moment. The company announced a strategic partnership with Sagem Orga, one of the world's largest SIM card manufacturers a few days ago. The press release about that is here.
Also one significant thing about this product is that it is way cheaper to manufacture and get into phones than building new fancy GPS phones has ever been. Phone manufacturers like Nokia would probably do a better job economically by abandoning the expensive and complex tech used for GPS now and switching into this SIM-based solution instead. Could save boatloads of green with their high volumes.
I'm pretty hyped up about this because it is such a cool and useful invention, but also because its from a person I know and respect, and has strong Finnish roots. They have been very low profile so far, but looks like they are "out" now with the partnership announcement and all. Hopefully they will conquer the world - realizing the dream of every startup!
What do you think - is there a market for something like this? Trouble on the horizon? Competition coming up?