Broadcom Launches GNSS Chip with Geofence Capabilities

February 20, 2013  - By
Image: GPS World

Broadcom Corporation has introduced the BCM47521, a GNSS chip with architecture that enables geofence capabilities while preserving battery life. According to Broadcom, the new chip opens the door to always-on location-aware applications such as social networking, place-based mobile commerce and local merchant advertising.

Broadcom will showcase its GNSS innovations at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, February 25-28.

A geographical region of interest (“geofence”) is being used by many new and innovative location-aware applications. The geofence feature enables the application to receive a notification when a user enters or exits a virtual perimeter. However, the implementation of this feature in traditional architectures is not viable, as the applications processor needs to run constantly, causing rapid drain to the device’s battery. Broadcom’s new BCM47521 overcomes this issue, making it possible to continuously monitor geofence areas while consuming 60x less battery power.

“The astounding growth of mobile devices is driving new opportunities for inventive applications that deliver valuable location-aware information,” said Scott Pomerantz, Broadcom vice president and general manager, GPS. “With the BCM47521’s low-power geofence mode, Broadcom is driving the next wave of system power consumption innovation that will allow OEMs to incorporate features that differentiate their mobile offerings and make location-aware, always-on applications a reality.”

The BCM47521 chip also provides multi-constellation support by simultaneously collecting data from GPS, GLONASS, QZSS and SBAS, and using the best received signals, resulting in faster searches and more accurate real-time navigation, Broadcom said. Broadcom’s multi-constellation technology, coupled with advanced signal processing, provides faster positioning performance for improved user experience, especially in challenging urban environments where buildings and obstructions can dramatically impact accuracy and time-to-first-fix.

A key feature is the 60x better system power efficiency versus a host-based architecture. An advanced host-offload mode monitors geofences in the background and only activates the applications processor when there is a trigger event, and smart algorithms adapt in real-time as the user gets closer to a geofence boundary.