Galileo, assisted GPS and potential users
IHT describes the few points about Galileo, its 5 levels of services of Galileo (the European quasi-GPS) and other interesting things with regards to locative technologies:
Galileo would have five levels of service, the most basic of which would be free, like GPS. The others would be commercial and offer higher levels of accuracy, security, strength or a combination of those qualities. The second tier of service would be designed for basic commercial applications like truck-fleet management, while the third would be accurate enough for more sophisticated services like assisting aircraft to land or guiding ships loaded with dangerous materials through coastal waters, he said. The fourth level would offer higher security in the form of encryption and anti-jamming measures and would be used by government authorities like the police, ambulance drivers, fire brigades and the armed forces, de- Ledinghen said. The final tier would be used for search and rescue and would offer a unique two-way service, providing the sender of a distress signal an acknowledgment of its receipt.
The article also mentions the current assisted GPS:
Several services around the world offer enhanced, or assisted, navigation services based on the open GPS service. Such services enhance GPS with additional geostationary satellites and ground stations that monitor the GPS signals and correct them. (...) while normal GPS is hindered by buildings, trees or anything else that blocks out the sky, "assisted" GPS works much better in urban canyons and can even operate indoors. (...) Alcatel and Orange, the mobile operator owned by France Télécom, conducted a trial from October to February in which 200 users were given Hewlett-Packard devices that combined the functions of an advanced mobile phone and an assisted-GPS receiver. The gadgets allowed users to roam around towns on foot, with accurate maps beamed to them via the mobile network. Alice Holzman, marketing director at Orange France, said the customers were impressed with the speed and accuracy of the devices. She said the increased accuracy of assisted GPS made it feasible for mobile phone operators to offer services to track valuables or for applications like emergency services and medical assistance. More "fun" services like friend finding and mobile gaming will use the technology when costs come down, she added.
Why do I blog this? since I am interested by the user experience of location-based applications, I'd like to know more than " customers were impressed with the speed and accuracy of the devices", what does that mean in terms of people's behavior: is it " Phew wow my assisted GPS is so accurate!" or a "ok I have to make a right and a left to finally find my car"? That's really an important topic, when it comes to how people feel technologies' discrepancies, accuracy (or non accuracy) and responsiveness.