The days when mobile phones will be able to connect to each other directly are nearing. Commonly mobile phones require cell towers to connect to the rest of the network. Signals travel from a phone to a cell tower and then to the phone being contacted. However, using LTE radio might enable phones to connect directly to each other within 500 meters of distance.
Tech companies such as Qualcomm and Facebook are experimenting with the possibility.
The LTE Direct technology has a range much more than that of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The technology has been sent up for approval and late in 2015, devices with the technology will make appearances in the market.
The company behind the technology, LTE Direct, is Qualcomm, a chip manufacturer. It has been researching on the technology for approximately seven years. The chip manufacturer organized the Upling Conference in SF in November, 2014 to announce that it is working on the project in collaboration with Yahoo and Facebook.
There are many uses that researchers find in the new technology. One of the benefits that people will be able to automatically locate other people with the same technology in the given radius including their friends and acquaintances. Another benefit is for business that will be able to locate potential and/or current customers in a certain radius and send them promotional messages. The third benefit of LTE Direct is lower power consumption as compared to Bluetooth. It will be able to detect other phones and beacons and communicate with them, including the ones part of train stations and airports.
The technical marketing director of Qualcomm, Mahesh Makhijani says, ‘You can think of LTE Direct as a sixth sense that is always aware of the environment around you. The world around you is full of information, and the phone can use that to predict and to help you in your everyday life.’
The second most popular website in the world, Facebook, is highly interested in the use of LTE Direct.
Another company, Control Group, a technology consultancy, is interested in experimenting with LTE Direct for serving targeted promotions. According to it, shops with devices with LTE Direct will be able to exhibit the kind of products they have. Shops will also be able to detect the kind of products different customers are interested in and this will enable them to send customized signals.
Last year, Apple announced its product iBeacons. iBeacons is being tested by retailers such as Macy for tracking and connecting with shoppers. Yahoo Labs has also announced the development of apps that make use of LTE Direct.
All in all, LTE Direct seems a promising prospect that will contribute to modern life in many ways.