TeleCommunications Systems (TCS) this week announced the acquisition of LocationLogic, a recent spinoff of Autodesk that is a privately held provider of location-based services, for $15 million in cash and $10 million in TCS stock.

According to a January 2009 Frost & Sullivan report, TCS was shown to have the most complete location-based-services (LBS) solution, with LocationLogic behind it. Tim Lorello, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for TCS, said the acquisition is very complementary, citing LocationLogic's chaperone, fleet-management and device-location services offered by carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

"[LocationLogic's] strengths are in location applications that we don't have," Lorello said during an interview with Urgent Communications, noting that TCS is primarily focused on core location-based engines such as 911, point-of-interest and traffic applications.

In addition to these commercial applications, Lorello noted that some of LocationLogic's authentication and privacy platform could prove useful to public safety in the future to ensure that only appropriate individuals — for instance, authorized law-enforcement officials — utilize tracking capabilities that are becoming more readily available on consumer handheld devices.

"We're getting to the point that public safety really can rely more and more on the fact that people have mobile devices to help them, whether it be to find them when they're lost, help find them when they dial 911 and even to the point — with the proper court orders and such — use them to track and find a particular person or unsavory character we're trying to locate," Lorello said.

Without such authentication capabilities, such potentially helpful capabilities could be open to abuse, Lorello said.

"If we wanted to make sure that only a police officer would be able get access to the phone of a missing child … that is an authentication step that has to occur," he said. "You have to make sure that only a validated public servant or somebody who has special permission — a court order or some other permission — is able to get the location of that device that is associated with that child. That would be the kind of technology that we've just acquired that would embellish what we're already offering to the market.

"It's part authentication and part privacy."