Phone service points to 40 jobs

Directions and tourist information from a mobile phone will soon be possible thanks to a Kiwi-US partnership.

Directions and tourist information from a mobile phone will soon be possible thanks to a Kiwi-US partnership.

Ericsson New Zealand and US-based GeoVector are to trial Vodaphone New Zealand's new GPRS (general packet radio services) network for their 2.5 and 3G wireless technology.

The deal is expected to create up to 40 jobs over the next two years as the leading edge technology is developed here first.

The pair will use Vodaphone's high-speed GPRS network that allows users to always be online but only pay for data sent to or received from their GPRS-enabled phones.

The new technology uses a sensor in conjunction with GPS and WAP technologies that make the mobile phone a virtual mouse enabling users to point it at remote objects and receive information about its point of interest. It also replaces maps with guidance and provides enhanced marketing opportunities for strategic partners.

Research into the technology was originally carried out on the yacht of GeoVector CEO John Ellenby.

The yacht is now permanently-moored in Auckland, where San Francisco-based GeoVector will open its first overseas office.

Ellenby says he is looking forward to setting up "a thriving R&D operation" in New Zealand.

Ericsson New Zealand managing director Goran Olsson confirms the trial will lead to a product for worldwide sale.

The partnership follows the trio's introduction by Investment New Zealand, a division of Trade New Zealand.

Its director Gary Langford says the agreement shows the country's potential to create jobs in m-commerce.

"New Zealand has the software engineers capable of developing the technology, coupled with a user-friendly radio frequency spectrum management system that provides a hassle-free application and approval regime for live testing, and a range of environments in which to test systems. The technology is also well suited to the tourist market, becoming a virtual tour guide and map book for visitors," Langford says.

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