Gadgets for humans

Skyhook Wireless allows wearables to break free from smartphones

Skyhook Wireless – the company that handles location requests for a number of tech giants including Apple, Samsung and Dell – just launched a new ultra-light software development kit (SDK) that will make location services for wearables a lot more convenient.

Until now, wearables could only support location requests through intermediary devices – smartphones or tablets, for instance – as a result of their limited technical capacities.

Skyhook’s new Precision Location for Wearables SDK will offer location services directly to wearables without the need for a surrogate device. The reduced size of the development kit makes it possible to build the solution straight into the firmware of any wearable device.

Once implemented, the software transmits location data back to Skyhook’s servers, where users can track it through an app or a website.

“We have spent years refining our location services, and with this unique solution, we can now unleash the power of location to an entirely new class of devices in a massively expanding market,” commented David Bairstow, Skyhook’s VP of Product.

Among the first companies to take advantage of Skyhook’s Precision Location SDK is wearable camera manufacturer Narrative. With Skyhook’s solution built-in, Narrative’s wearable cameras will let users quickly and easily tag videos and photos with a precise location.

Given the increased interest in wearables, the technology can be particularly useful to a wide range of devices whose functionality can be improved with readily available location services. Fitness trackers, for one, immediately come to mind.

The advent of Skyhook’s location technology does raise concerns over privacy with its enhanced tracking capabilities, but Bairstow assures that users will have sufficient control over their location data and promises to include an option to switch off tracking completely.

Skyhook Wireless brings location services to wearables in a petite package [TechCrunch]

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Published March 15, 2016 — 12:45 UTC

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