Discovery of a new indicator
The authors of this article began their search for a new indicator at the start of 2003.
The search was driven by the requirements of the tourist sector as expressed by François Marchand, combined with the research work conducted by Alain Giaccone on the potential of information networks.
From the moment their technology watch began, they explored several paths, such as the use of wireless sensors of all kinds, combined with WiFi and ADSL networks. However, these solutions were found to be too cumbersome.
Following a brainstorming session in the summer of 2003, research began to focus on a wireless presence indicator, offering ideal mobility and based on cutting-edge technology.
This indicator is now present in sufficiently large numbers to supply data that can be very accurately processed using proven statistical methods.
This indicator is the invisible link that connects us all: our cell phone, whether it be simple GSM or multimedia, and 2G or 3G (UMTS).
After hitting upon this obvious idea, an in-depth search showed that there were no publications on the subject, so the autumn of 2003 was devoted to the preliminary formalities for filing a patent.
The technology required for mobile networks to operate was analyzed in detail, confirming the insight of inventors: a mobile network needs to know where a subscriber is located at any given time, in order to instantly connect a call, whether incoming or outgoing.
Therefore, the network knows - temporarily - which cellular phones are connected in a given geographic area.
It is this data - where, how many, when - that the authors realized could be stored, area by area, and then processed and analyzed.
There was a strong focus on the network’s "intelligence." The basic technical information provided by the equipment manufacturers Nortel, Alcatel and other undisputed market leaders, confirmed the technical feasibility of the system envisioned by its designers.
The first international patent applications were then logically filed in the course of the first quarter of 2004.