New Technology Broadcasts Messages To Mobile Devices

You’re driving down the freeway, when your cell phone rings. “Take the next exit,” an automated voice suggests. “There’s an accident and a two mile backup ahead.”

While still in the future, this scenario moved one step closer to reality with the announcement this week of newly-patented technology which allows messages or data to be left and retrieved at specific locations in mobile phone or other radio networks.

Called Way Point, the system is from Xybernaut Corp., of Fairfax, Virginia. The information it delivers could be a voice message or other audio file, or an email, text file, or Web site, according to the company. Animation or other video files can also be sent.

In addition to traffic warnings, the system could be used for emergency weather or missing persons alerts, notifying travelers of discounts near a retail outlet or the location of a favorite restaurant, or tracking military troop movements. It could also be used for business applications such as one-to-one or direct marketing, field force automation, asset management and electronic commerce.

Way Point can deliver information to anyone in a certain location, or be specifically tailored for certain individuals or groups, according to the company.

Information providers can choose a location anywhere on the globe, “then decide what information they would like to provide at that location,” says Xybernaut CEO Edward Newman. “Similarly, subscribers can configure profiles that define information preferences and the manner in which information is presented.”

The Way Point architecture can operate on cellular networks, satellite arrays, two-way radio or spread spectrum microwave networks. Information could be delivered to cell phones, PDAs, wearable computers, laptops or GPS-enabled automobiles.

The systems will work with any location-determining device which can communicate over a commercial mobile radio service such as a cellular phone network. These could include GPS-enabled cell phones, PDAs, wearable computers, laptops or cars.

Besides GPS devices, Way Point will work with devices which pinpoint their location using methods such as triangulation, signal strength measurements, angle of incidence measurements, or combinations of these techniques.

Xybernaut specializes in wearable and mobile computing systems. The company recently also announced plans, in partnership with Central Lakes, Mich.-based Second Chance Body Armor, to integrate a wearable computer into a bullet-proof vest for law enforcement and the military.