@Road a provider of location-enhanced wireless Internet solutions for mobile resource management (MRM) announced it has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent number 6,529,159 is titled “Method for distributing location-relevant information using a network.” This patent is the eighth awarded to @Road and the second since the beginning of the year. @Road has 34 additional patents pending in jurisdictions throughout the world.
The invention upon which this latest patent is based describes a method for communicating valuable business information to mobile workers based on their position in the field at a given time. This technique is accomplished by using the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network to identify the location of the mobile worker, and then transmitting this information via wireless network to a database, where it is automatically analyzed and matched to other data about that location which is already in the system.
For example, prior to a business trip, a traveling salesperson can enter itinerary information into a database from a desktop terminal. Data can be input graphically using an interface that displays a map or by specifying each location’s street address. The system can easily convert the street addresses or map coordinates in the itinerary into corresponding GPS positions. The salesperson can access the itinerary from a mobile unit while on the road and can query the database for location-relevant information, such as detailed directions and estimated travel time.
The mobile worker could access other types of location-relevant information from the database, such as traffic conditions and local points of interest data. Mobile workers may receive this information in the form of audio, text or graphical messages sent over the network. Since the location-relevant information may be proprietary — for example, a customer list — access can be limited to only authenticated and authorized individuals.
According to another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for conducting a business or financial transaction over a wireless network. For instance, a mobile worker from a courier service may have in his possession a package that requires proof of delivery. The sender of the package may wish to be alerted when the recipient claims the package. Using GPS to determine the position of the worker, the sender can validate when the package reaches its destination, that the package was delivered to the proper location and, with the help of a system for capturing digital signatures, that the recipient has signed for the package. Thus, the invention provides a simple and efficient method for using a hosted application that integrates positioning systems, wireless communications and the Internet to conduct business in the field.