Mobile tracking via phone looks for funding -

Mobile tracking via phone looks for funding

LONDON — Trisent Communications Ltd is looking to raise £500,000 in second round funding later this year to further develop mobile phone technology that means employers can elect to constantly and accurately track their employees whereabouts at any time or place during the working day.

Trisent (Dunfermline, Scotland) has developed a system that allows mobile phone locations to be tracked continuously in real-time using standard unmodified phones without the need for additional equipment to be installed within the cellular networks.

It received £300,000 in venture capital funding from Edinburgh based Sigma Technology Management in April 2005.

Existing alternatives are either a global satellite positioning system (GPS) or the network operator controlled mobile phone positioning service (cell-ID), which are limited and expensive. GPS tracking requires investment in specialized handsets or vehicle installations, and cell-ID ‘location request’ is typically slow and inaccurate.

The test launch of the technology has proven a success with four location service providers partnering with Trisent to offer the new service, which is now fully operational across the whole of the U.K. There is also increasing international interest and plans to deploy the system into Europe during 2007.

In the U.K. there are over 500,000 phones being located on a regular basis, and 200,000 vehicles tracked by GPS. The UK positioning market is worth over £120 million and growing. Trisent believes its automated, ‘live’ tracking system will accelerate this growth as it is removes cost barriers to make the service more accessible to the wider business community.

“Until now, tracking the location of people and vehicles has been an expensive, slow and inaccurate business. At about 25p a location request, multiple requests on multiple phones becomes uneconomical for most businesses,” said Dr Gordon Povey, Trisent’s founder and managing director.

One of the first providers in the U.K. to offer Trisent’s mobile phone tracking solution is FollowUs.

“The Trisent location data is more accurate than standard mobile phone location solutions, and the fixed cost of the solution provides a substantial cost saving for customers that require multiple locations per hour. It is a real alternative to GPS and so we are marketing Trisent technology alongside our GPS solutions. FollowUs now have 68,000 registered users and we believe that Trisent's technology addresses the needs of some of our existing customers and will attract many new customers,” said Kevin Brown, a director of FollowUs.

As a member of Wireless Innovation, Scotland’s national initiative supporting wireless and mobile technologies, Trisent received market intelligence and high level introductions that the company believes ‘were essential in helping to formulate our business strategy’.

“Trisent have found a real niche in a fast developing marketplace and Wireless Innovation has been working closely with Gordon and the team to ensure the technology is market ready. We believe that once the market starts using their technology in their applications, it will be a serious competitor for GPS and existing alternatives,” said Alisdair Gunn, Technology Manager for Wireless Innovation.

Trisent was established in 2004 after a management buy out of Edinburgh based Elektrobit (UK) Ltd. This company was a subsidiary of the Finnish wireless and mobile phone design company the Elektrobit Group plc.

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