GPS Business News: can you give us a quick background about Spotigo?
Darío Alonso: Spotigo was founded in February 2005 and we are based in Germany and Spain. We currently have three lines of business. The first one is the biggest worldwide directory of WiFi hotspots for which we have customers such as Tele Atlas, Map24 or Lycos Europe. The second one is a product we call “WiFi connection manager” to handle connections at hotspots such as automatic log-in, etc… The third one is our WiFi Positioning System, Spotigo’s WiPS.
GPS BN: Can you explain how does work your WiFi positioning system?
DA: Spotigo’s WiPS is able to define the position of a WiFi enabled device just using the WiFi signals around. Basically it “scans” which signals are “out there” and based on that the system decides the user’s position. The system has a client-server architecture: software clients run our WiFi positioning algorithm and the server collects information reported by clients working in order to build “radiomaps”. These radiomaps are the basic information used by clients for determining the position when doing WiFi scans. Radiomaps are physically located either on the server (online positioning: the client connects to the server to retrieve its position) or/and on the clients (offline positioning: no connection at all required for calculating the position). It works independently from GSM, GPS, or any other “triangulation” technology and our algorithm is “self-learning”: this means it profits from users running WiPS to extract information to keep radiomaps up-to-date and growing, which enables to enlarge the coverage area progressively (without doing expensive war-driving) and improve the accuracy on areas already covered. By the way, the typical average accuracy is around 10-15 m and in some cases even 1 m. It’s the perfect complement for GPS since it works indoors and much faster (it gets the first “fix” in less than a second)
DA: We have covered some parts of major European cities, but our approach is not a “static” one (as we call it), but a “dynamic” approach. Static approaches first go for war-driving in order to build an area where WiFi positioning is possible and then run it. This requires a lot of money if you want to go for a worldwide coverage … That’s why ours is more dynamic: whenever we want to cover an area to run WiFi positioning, we take a few seed data (e.g. we run a very fast simple war-driving which takes not so much effort) and then we let users run the clients, which collect information and will improve WiFi positioning progressively.
GPS BN: And what is the business model?
DA: Basically we have two ways to sell our technology. The first one is in a “connected mode” when the position is sent by our servers; it is transaction-based: Spotigo gets paid for each position it provides. The position can be triggered by the user or by the service provider. The second one is “offline positioning”, in this case we sell prepackaged positioning databases that are embedded in the product or the application, then the business model is a revenue sharing model.