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Location awareness is a component of presence technology that delivers information about a device's physical location to another user or application. The term is most often used in reference to mobile communication devices and cameras but it can also refer to websites that request a user's zip code to deliver targeted information.
A device's location is usually determined by one of three methods: by GPS satellite tracking, by cellular tower triangulation, or by the device's media access control (MAC) address on a Wi-Fi network.
Location awareness is a growingtrend in hardware and software. Here are a few of the current applications:
- Camera memory cards that automatically tag the location of a picture.
- Application programs (apps) on smartphones.
- GPS systems in vehicles.
- Supply chain management (SCM).
- Healthcare device management.
As location awareness becomes more prevalent, so do concerns about privacy and security. The IETF has a working group, Geographic Location/Privacy (geopriv) to explore ways to safeguard users while furthering the technology.
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