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Smartphone Detection And How It Can Create A Value

In the current era of mobility, electronic devices are exceeding their limitations every day with continuous innovations. As such, these devices are now an integral part of daily lives. A smartphone currently consists of numerous tools & provisions, such as recording audio, capturing videos & photos, receiving information, accessing digitally stored information, transmitting real-time location, and much more than that. Smart city applications heavily rely on smart electronic devices for various use cases. In particular, there is a set of smart city applications where smartphone detection can create value for users.

Innovative Applications Of Smartphone Detection

As the name suggests, Smartphone detection allows the system to scan and identify nearby or passing by electronics devices. These smartphone detections take place through the smartphone’s transmission of radio waves in most cases. Therefore, this is one of the methods where the end audience does not need any upgrades or changes on their devices. Monitoring systems will be able to identify the presence of users carrying smartphones as it is. Based on these scans, one can gather data or monitor smartphone presence in real-time. 

Smartphone detection can be handy when implemented logically in terms of its usage. Here are a couple of examples where smartphone detection can create value in smart city applications:

  • Identifying The Mass Interests

For instance, such smartphone detection systems can be helpful to detect & identify approximate visitors gathered in a particular area of a shop, an art gallery, or even a museum. Such an insight would allow brands and administrators to better workout on effective mapping for higher sales.

  • Access Control & Security

Another example of such an application would be identifying and preventing any unauthorized personal electronic devices (PEDs). Identifying such unapproved smartphones can be resourceful for government facilities, access control, vital healthcare units, and sensitive lab facilities.

  • Tracking Of Human Resources

It is essential to check on employees’ movements for workspace productivity or security. There are various ways this can be insightful to employers and administrators. One such example can be identifying a group gathering breaking the social distancing norms.

Various Ways For Smartphone Detection

Smartphones carry various communication protocols, allowing them to transmit multiple radio signals. These transmissions may be through different technologies such as cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and even IR in some cases. Furthermore, all sorts of cellular communication can be detected with smartphone detection, such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, 6G, GSM, LTE, and CDMA. Smartphone detection devices are standalone and can continuously scan for these RF transmissions from PEDs in their range. Some of these smartphone detection systems also allow users to set the radius for smartphones nearby.

Even further, some hybrid solutions go beyond the detection of smartphones by serving as jammers too. These detection systems would detect any smartphone as per user-defined parameters and make alerts over the internet or on-premises. These systems are often implemented along with a web interface to take the complete detection area into account graphically. As such, there are various ways to represent smartphone presence in different smart city applications.

Smartphone Detection System Challenges

Like any other IoT system, smartphone detection systems have to be verified to ensure they are not prone to real-time scenarios. Thus, a smartphone detection system has to always avoid any false alarms with complete accuracy as a primary challenge. Any false alarm would result in a great deal of disruption for any access control system. False alarms can occur as the number of radio transmissions increases along with the number of connected devices. Therefore, the detection device must be accurate enough to differentiate.

In addition to that, the scalability of the detection system is another parameter for such a system. Stress testing is one way to ensure that the detection system can detect enough mobile electronic devices in its range. Technical solution architects should define how many smartphones should be caught with one detection device based on its application. These would ensure that no smartphone goes undetected in high-traffic environments.


The number of smartphone restriction zones keeps increasing as users are being affected by smartphones in one way or another. Similarly, on the other side of the coin, most people now carry at least one smartphone with them, if not more. Therefore, there are many use-cases where detecting the presence of smartphones can be resourceful. Availability of smartphones to the masses allows a unique scope of smart city applications where users carrying a smartphone is the one sufficient pre-requisite for the system.

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