Nokia has taken the wraps off a three-year research project that uses the unoccupied bandwidth in TV networks to offer wireless networking and location-based information. TV white space is the unused spectrum in a particular area that has been reserved for a channel elsewhere in the country. So, at the Imperial War Museum near Cambridge, UK, researcher Scott Probasco has set up a network using a frequency that's reserved for a London TV station that can deliver information on different exhibits depending on where you are.
The system currently isn't built into any radio chips, meaning that the receiver has to be carried in a small suitcase which is connected by USB to a Nokia N9, with the chips required expected to be standardized in the next three years. As well as tracking his location around the museum, the network can also be used to deliver rich multimedia content like video direct to a handset. It's not the first time that white space networks have been trialed — Cambridge recently received a city-wide network — however it's clear that this currently unoccupied space offers potential well beyond just networking. While GPS is great outside, indoors it can be less helpful, and the use of white space here could make initiatives like Google's Indoor Maps far more helpful.