GPS technology is helpful in locating people in open areas but anyone who has tried to get a GPS system to work in a parking garage knows how difficult it can be have the system find the satellites that triangulate your exact location.
Fortunately Intrado is doing its part to help overcome this limitation and has found a way to make VoIP 911 in buildings more accurate than ever. They are working with a number of partners who have developed separate but ingenious ways of ensuring you can be found in-building in case of an emergency.
One partner, Rosum Corporation, utilizes triangulation of television signals to pinpoint location. Another, S5 Wireless Inc. has developed a special chip which works with remarkable accuracy inside buildings. The S5 chip costs under $1, is smaller than a pencil eraser, and has a battery life of about 3 years. The company claims its technology is uniquely suited to locating VoIP callers. Finally, Skyhook Wireless Inc maps the MAC addresses of the devices on the wireless network and generates a mapping radio footprint to help the VoIP user be found.
Intrado tells me they are trying to meet the precise location needs of VoIP users whether the FCC requires it or not. They also have commercial customers that can make use of this technology so it seems like an intelligent investment to me.
In the end, the FCC could require this level of granularity in VoIP E911 solutions and Intrado has done a great job of being one step ahead of impending regulation.
It is worth pointing out that Intrado will soon be acquired by West Corp, one of the top teleservices/call center outsourcing companies in the world. This acquisition should only strengthen Intrado and I see this as a smart move for both companies.