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Three Dimensions that Influence Location Quality

- February 2, 2015 - 2 Comments

Since the earliest maps, location accuracy has always been important. Just one degree off on the high seas and the seafaring navigator could be landing in Cuba instead of Florida. As we progress from GPS to indoor location, the quality of location accuracy is no less critical.

To define the quality of location, we really need to understand the variables that influence location. This is especially true with mobile devices in the mix.

Quality of location accuracy has three dimensions:

  1. Location precision
  2. Refresh rate
  3. System latency

These three vectors are functions of how well the infrastructure is engineered and how the infrastructure can influence the behavior of the mobile device.

Location precision is the absolute accuracy without factoring the system latency or the device refresh rate. Here, we are just measuring the accuracy of location computation of a device that is stationary.

Refresh rate is how frequently you can compute the location of a mobile device that is connected to the network and not probed frequently. Refresh rate has little impact on location precision if the device is static. However, mobile devices are mobile so the location accuracy is determined by how quickly you refresh the device location as it moves. The faster the refresh rate, the more accurate the location (blue line below with the Cisco FastLocate feature). This is particularly important in mobile environments.

FastLocate-Critical to actionable data

With slow refresh rate, you end up with fewer location data points and can miss valuable path information as illustrated above (orange line).

The last dimension is system latency. This is the time it takes from the time a device probes to the time a notification containing the location coordinates is sent out to an application. This includes the time it takes for the signal transit time, processing and compute times. As with refresh rate, the location of a static device is not materially impacted by system latency. However, with a mobile device, the impact is more pronounced.

Three Vectos of Location Quality

With the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) 10.0 update just announced last week (MSE is the backbone of our Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution), we have spent a lot of time engineering our solution to optimize on all three vectors. Overall location precision is improved by more accurately capturing the real location of the device. The refresh rate is accelerated, so we can capture more data points and greater granularity. Finally, processing power has improved to decrease system latency and return location coordinates faster.

The MSE 10.0 enhancements in all three vectors of location quality are dramatic, as illustrated above. As you can see, without understanding the make up of location, it is nearly impossible to architect a solution that can deliver location-based services.

To learn more about all things location technology such as accuracy, BLE beacons, and analytics as well as how to design and deploy the CMX solution, join Robb and Jimmy Ray in a Techwise TV workshop on February 25 – register now!

In the meantime, check out cisco.com/go/cmx for more on CMX.

Tweet us @Cisco_Mobility for questions or comments.

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2 Comments

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