Start-up solves presence problem

A tracking device with a difference from a Brisbane start-up gives new meaning to 'you can run but you can't hide'.

A tracking device with a difference from a Brisbane start-up gives new meaning to 'you can run but you can't hide'.

To cut the time spent phoning mobile and remote workers who increasingly use more than one networked mobile device, Locatrix Communications has developed technology that lets others within the organisation "see" how they can be contacted.

Locatrix's CEO Mark White says the company's basic objective is "to give context to mobility".

"Almost everyone has a mobile device be it a phone, PDA, or notebook, and with mobile workforces and hot-desking, demand is rising," he says. The company examined collaboration within organisations in a largely context-free way.

"For example, caller ID gives context and we give context to mobile colleagues," he says. "If you needed to contact me and called my office phone first, and then tried my mobile, presence solves that problem. Locatrix lets friends and colleagues find information about where to contact you regardless of the type of device."

After securing its first round of seed funding, Locatrix is now trialling the technology with "a mobile operator" and has generated interest from eight countries.

As a result the company is seeking more funding to go global.

"Locatrix is network transparent and works over CDMA, 3G, GPRS, PPP, WiFi, and Ethernet," White says.

"The most important value proposition for the enterprise is that it's all in software, it's lightweight, and is offered as a subscription service so there is no capital expenditure required. Also, it's not disruptive to existing networks so you can turn on new services in a day."

The Locatrix client runs on Windows with a Java client for phones, while the backend server runs on Linux and Solaris.

"We're looking to make Locatrix available to service providers and to the enterprise internally," he says. "Once you have that infrastructure, applications can leverage it and we have a range of applications on the drawing board." Among the first applications to make use of Locatrix are those for personal information management such as Outlook and Lotus Notes.

"It's like a 'Harry Potter's business card' in that your calendar may indicate that you are in a meeting and to call back in three hours, or that you are in Melbourne so call your mobile," White says. "It also applies to IP telephony which could indicate that someone's in a room and on a phone call."

White claims Locatrix has a good ROI model as it saves time by eliminating unnecessary attempts at communication as "people can find you before they use the network systems".

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