Though plenty of firms (including some big ones) have been trying to commercialize consumer-facing indoor positioning technologies for years, none have succeeded on a wide scale -- which certainly seems to leave the door wide open for a system that actually works to be wildly successful, doesn't it? Rosum has been toying with the idea of using plain old TV signals to accurately locate people and objects within GPS-hating structures for years, and with today's launch of its so-called Alloy system with partner Siano, the company could be closer to wide-scale deployment. Basically, Alloy combines AGPS (for maximum precision outdoors and in marginal areas) with support for a variety of types of TV signals to enhance coverage and provide <150 meter accuracy even in the deepest, darkest, dankest corners of your home where traditional GPS would never dream of going. What's more, Rosum touts that TV positioning is several orders of magnitude more power-efficient than AGPS, music to the ears of anyone who's struggling to get a full day's battery out of their phone. They're sampling chipsets beginning this month, but don't expect it in handsets right away -- Rosum's primary target appears to be femtocell makers. The devices traditionally require GPS reception, requiring unsightly remote GPS antennas if you're not interested in balancing the cell on a window sill, so a technology like this should let you properly bury that network extender behind a bookshelf where it belongs. Follow the break for Rosum's press release.
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Rosum Corporation and Siano Take GPS Indoors Using TV Signals

Rosum Corporation and Siano launch ALLOY™ chip for Femtocells, Trackers and Mobile TV devices – extending location-based services beyond the limitations of traditional GPS

Sunnyvale, California, March 1st, 2010 – Rosum Corporation announced today the launch of ALLOY™, a revolutionary location and synchronization solution for indoor and urban environments. The ALLOY™ chip, which was developed in partnership with Siano, the leading supplier of Mobile Digital TV receiver chips for handsets, laptops, PNDs, and other mobile devices, utilizes broadcast TV signals to provide precise frequency, timing and location information. The breakthrough chip opens up a multitude of new commercial opportunities by enabling femtocell synchronization and location, tracking of people and assets, and localized advertising over mobile TV devices in deep indoor locations such as shopping malls, hotels, campuses and factories with seamless delivery leveraging broadcast TV signals.

Until today, there was no single location solution that worked across all environments. Traditional positioning systems are satellite-based, designed for outdoor applications and have limitations both indoors and in urban environments. The ALLOY™ client combines the ALLOY™ chip with a high-sensitivity A-GPS chip into a tightly-coupled hybrid TV-GPS solution which works across all types of environments: rural, suburban, urban, and indoor. Broadcast TV signals enjoy a 100,000x power margin advantage over GPS, and this extends location and synchronization capabilities deep into buildings and urban environments.

According to Dominique Bonte, Practice Director, Telematics and Navigation, for ABI Research, the market for wireless location-based applications is expected to reach $14.5 Billion in 2014. "The success of these applications will depend on the pervasive availability of the location technologies that enable them. Alternative positioning technologies such as ALLOY™ are critical (in addressing the limitations of GPS).

"Femtozone location based applications provide an enhanced value proposition in addition to the voice and data services which are being currently rolled out. By 2014, ABI Research expects 40 million unit shipments for femtocells. This presents an exciting market opportunity for innovative solutions like those from Rosum that solve problems of indoor positioning and synchronization, which are critical for mass-market femtocell deployment", says Aditya Kaul, Practice Director, Mobile Networks for ABI Research.
Applications of ALLOY™ include femtocell synchronization and location, indoor and urban tracking of people and assets, and location-based services and advertising for mobile TV devices. Specific examples include:

Femtocells require accurate timing, frequency and location for quick start-up, interference management, and E911 location. Competing solutions can require 60-90 minutes or more to start-up and require placement by the window. ALLOY™ reduces this time dramatically (typically three minutes) and extends coverage deep indoors, where femtocells are most valuable.
Tracking service providers require continuous tracking across all environments – outdoor, indoor, and urban. High-value assets and people tend to be indoors or in urban areas where GPS signals are often unavailable, but TV signals are abundant. ALLOY™ keeps assets and people under monitoring in areas where GPS-based solutions fail.

Mobile services and advertisements are worth more when they are based on the precise location of the customer's handset even when indoors, such as inside malls, campuses, etc. Location-enabled TV provides a platform for new and expanded revenue streams for broadcasters and carriers.

"Rosum's technology opens a new era in location-based applications and services," said Alon Ironi, CEO of Siano. "Our cooperation with Rosum will enable every user of a handheld device to not only watch TV everywhere, but also benefit from an abundance of location-based services everywhere, even where the line-of-sight to the global positioning satellites is blocked."
"Siano's high-performance, low-power Mobile DTV solution is the ideal platform for effective deployment of Rosum TV-location technology," said Todd Young, VP Business Development of Rosum. "Partnering with Siano puts our robust location technology in an easy-to-integrate form factor for device makers worldwide."
Rosum is accepting orders for ALLOY™ evaluation kits and for ALLOY™ chips. For information, contact Todd Young, VP Business Development, tyoung@rosum.com.

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