According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight (www.berginsight.com), the global market for location platforms will grow steadily in the next few years, mainly driven by the emerging indoor location segment.
At the same time, the market for location platforms deployed by mobile operators is maturing. Annual revenues for GMLC/SMLC and SUPL A-GPS servers, passive location platforms, as well as middleware deployed by mobile operators are forecasted to grow from an estimated € 190 million in 2012 to € 275 million in 2018. The market is primarily driven by public safety and lawful intercept mandates that require network operators to invest in location platforms enabling location of any handset.
Overall, the growing end-user demand for commercial location-based services (LBS) will not have a substantial effect on the market for mobile network location platforms. Most mass market commercial LBS now relies on alternative location sources including GPS and Wi-Fi chipsets in handsets. Mobile operators are however showing interest in location-enhanced enterprise and B2B services such as fraud management, secure authentication and marketing.
More and more operators are now deploying passive location platforms that enable mass location of handsets without straining network resources. These platforms are well suited for services ranging from advertising and big data analytics to public warning messages. Many stakeholders are now also investing in the indoor location market.
“Supporting a diverse set of indoor location services and use-cases ranging from emergency call location to navigation, shopping and analytics require different approaches,” says André Malm, senior analyst, Berg Insight. “The different needs of each market segment in terms of handset support, location performance and business models have led to multiple parallel development efforts by several categories of companies.”
Achieving seamless transition between outdoor and indoor navigation requires handsets with hybrid location technologies, he adds. Hybrid location technologies fuse signal measurements from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), cellular and Wi-Fi network signals, together with data from handset sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses and altimeters.
Malm says that that venue owners and retailers are now also deploying network-centric location solutions that use Wi-Fi access points and new Bluetooth Low Energy beacons to enable highly accurate indoor location, geofencing and proximity services.