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Vicinity Ekes Out Search Patent

By Michael Singer     Feedback

Web, wireless and speech-based ELS company scores a copyright to its searching technology that asks the big questions like: "where's the nearest gas station that has diesel fuel?"

Vicinity Corp. Wednesday says one of its patent applications has been approved and registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company provides Web, wireless and speech-based Enterprise Location Services (ELS).

The patent is titled "Method and Apparatus for Efficient Proximity Searching." The technology improves the speed, accuracy and efficiency of searching for a specific location from a large universe of locations.

The technology is used in its trademark service, the Vicinity Location Server, which along its other application services and application-programming interfaces (APIs), embed location intelligence deep within existing enterprise applications.

For example the technology improves the performance when combining a proximity search with attributes - such as, "where's the nearest gas station that has diesel fuel?"

"The approval of this patent in the United States confirms Vicinity's leadership position in the Enterprise Location Services market," says Vicinity president and CEO Chuck Berger. "We continue to innovate each day to offer Global 2000 companies the best location services on the market. These services are critical to improving customer retention and loyalty, which ultimately drive bottom-line results."

Berger says in contrast to other proximity searching systems, Vicinity's solution help companies integrate location information into both front- and back-office systems. Vicinity can also deliver its service over the Internet, or via wireless and speech-enabled devices. It also is easily integrated with CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence and other enterprise applications.

Vicinity's customers include Domino's Pizza, FedEx, Ford, GM, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Marriott International, McDonald's, NEC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Taco Bell, Toyota and UPS.

This article was originally published on January 9, 2002
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