Nokia's Mobile Millennium gives free traffic info

Get free traffic updates on your N96 with Mobile Millennium
Get free traffic updates on your N96 with Mobile Millennium

There will be free traffic information for all, if Nokia's pilot Mobile Millennium project takes off.

The project, launching today, uses data collected from a network of GPS-enabled mobile phones to identify traffic delays, then relays information back to handsets in real time.

Participation in Mobile Millennium is open to anyone with a sat-nav phone from a range of manufacturers, an unlimited data plan and the ability to run Java apps.

The Java application gathers position information from the handset at regular intervals and enables participants to receive real-time traffic data and incident reports for main thoroughfares throughout much of the United States.

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Privacy is a top concern, according to Nokia. The system strips individual device identifiers from the transmitted data, using banking-grade encryption techniques for its transmission, and draws data only from targeted roadways where traffic information is needed.

The project is being run by Nokia, using Navteq's expertise in aggregating traffic data and the University of California at Berkeley for networking smarts.

The pilot will operate over four to six months and up to 10,000 members of the public community can participate.

American drivers should be able to download the (free) software later today at

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.