Sonim to Add NextNav’s Z-Axis Location Data in Devices
Wednesday, July 01, 2020 | Comments

NextNav announced a partnership with Sonim Technologies to make NextNav’s Z-axis location technology available to first responders and 9-1-1 emergency services.

Drawing on NextNav’s carrier-grade network and software, Sonim said it will be the first to offer NextNav-enabled devices capable of delivering Z-axis (altitude) measurements for public-safety and 9-1-1 emergency services. Using NextNav’s software, first responder applications on Sonim devices will provide more accurate altitude data — capable of floor level ±3-meter accuracy mandated by the FCC — 95% of the time for locating 9-1-1 callers and minimizing response times.

“Z-axis is a game changer for first responders,” said Ganesh Pattabiraman, CEO of NextNav. “Studies show that having precise Z information reduces search times in multistory structures by over 80%. Combined with the fact that 84% of the U.S. population lives in cities, this will have a tremendous impact on public safety. Our partnership with Sonim means faster response times and increased situational awareness that will save lives. This is the first step toward an ecosystem of 3D geolocation that is long overdue.”

NextNav’s z-axis capability is delivered through a software update to devices already in market and will be incorporated natively in new Sonim devices. This will correspond with a phased nationwide launch of NextNav services later this year. NextNav’s Z-axis service leverages existing device hardware.

“We’re thrilled to offer the first devices designed for use with NextNav’s innovative Z-axis service,” said John Graff, chief marketing officer (CMO0 at Sonim. “This effort continues our long history of bringing new technologies to the public-safety market, including being one of the initial ultra-rugged devices certified for the first public-safety dedicated broadband network, and now, being one of the first devices to support the FCC-mandated Z-axis requirement for 9-1-1.”

The NextNav software development kit is available to application developers. The company’s Metropolitan Beacon System (MBS) offers reliable position, navigation and timing (PNT) services in the absence of GPS.

In May, NextNav said its vertical location network will be available for use in 105 cellular market areas (CMAs) before the April 2021 deadline for the provision of 3-meter 9-1-1 accurate vertical location information to support public safety in the largest 25 CMAs.

In June, CTIA and the nationwide providers encouraged the FCC to adopt an alternative Z-axis framework that expands the geographic coverage requirements to wireless 9-1-1 calls nationwide and recognizes the current state of mobile OS-based solutions to deliver ± 3 meter vertical location information. The FCC plans to vote on updated 9-1-1 location accuracy rules at its open meeting later this month.

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