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Location Data Doesn’t Have to be Scary


Let’s talk about something private. Yep, Bluetooth location services permissions and your privacy.

Data collection is something that a lot of folks get very suspicious about. It seems like at every turn, there are news reports about how some big company is stealing or selling your data. Google Play Store and the Apple Store require that apps request users to provide permissions for location services. The reason behind this change from Apple and Google was to keep everyone’s data safe and allow users to keep their privacy by putting permission to access their location solely in the hands of the user. That way you control what and how your data is being used. Not all data collected is going to reveal scandalous information or have the FBI on your tail. Some data, like the data collected from location services used with the VoltSafe Winter app, is simply used to locate how far your mobile phone is from its VoltSafe paired product. And if it is close enough to connect and update its firmware. Honestly, at VoltSafe, we couldn’t care less if you are knee-deep in your heart-shaped pool in the middle of the Cayman Islands. Data like that, and your privacy, are yours to keep.

Here’s a look at how location services do work and how they help make it easier for you to get around or find those keys you keep misplacing.

Data dependent location services

Using Location Services, apps and websites can determine your approximate location using your Wi-Fi, mobile, GPS, and Bluetooth networks. Your phone’s weather app, for instance, determines which city’s weather forecast to display on your phone based on your location when you connect to Wi-Fi or mobile data.

When you use a map app to find an address on your phone, the location service determines your location and the distance to the address.

For navigation or information, such as a weather forecast, these location-based apps require data services to use your current location information.

Bluetooth location services

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio frequency is used by Bluetooth location services to determine if Bluetooth devices such as phones and Bluetooth speakers are within range of each other and to connect them.  It’s similar to how a smart key or device tracker like Tile, Chipolo, or Airtag works. There are two ways to determine location through Bluetooth: positioning systems and proximity systems, like the ones used in smart device finders.

Positioning systems

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) are used to track equipment and people in positioning systems.

The Bluetooth tags used in Tile are used to locate and track equipment or people. For example, they can be used to locate employees in large buildings like airports or malls. In these environments, the tags transmit signals which estimate their location, making it easy to locate a piece of equipment or a person. Are you curious about the location of your luggage at the airport? Positioning systems can help with that.

Proximity solutions

A proximity solution uses Bluetooth technology to locate two devices in close proximity. Proximity solutions include point of interest and item finding. Item finding occurs in an instance where your smartphone is used to determine whether another Bluetooth device such as your wireless earbuds, your bluetooth speaker, your smartwatch or the VoltSafe Winter Block Heater Plug is within range.  VoltSafe Winter employs a Point of Interest Solution (PIS) that allows your smartphone to listen for the BLE beacon and receive information about the plug, such as firmware version and status of the plug (whether it is connected or not). So no need to worry about using the location service on your phone. It’s meant to help you find things and places. No need to worry about being tracked by Treadstone.