Wireless Applications

Alternative Positioning Technologies to Gain 25% of Market by 2014

January 16, 2009

ABI Research predicts Cell-ID and Wi-Fi, combined with A-GPS, will expand their role in next-generation LBS applications.

LONDON /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Many next-generation LBS applications, such as social networking, local search, advertising, and geo-tagging, are expected to be used in urban and indoor environments, where GPS either underperforms in terms of fix times or accuracy or fails altogether. So alternative positioning technologies such as Wi-Fi and Cell-ID will become increasingly important.

"Users expect a seamless and transparent location experience regardless of application or environment," says ABI Research Director Dominique Bonte. "Since no single positioning technology can provide this, the future will be about hybrid positioning systems, combining A-GPS, Cell-ID, Wi-Fi, cellular, motion sensors, and even TV broadcast and proximity technologies, such as Bluetooth, NFC, and RFID. A-GPS, Wi-Fi, and Cell-ID will be the winning combination, offering accuracy, availability, interoperability, and short fix times at low cost. It will represent 25% of all positioning solutions by 2014. Stand-alone Cell-ID and/or Wi-Fi will remain important in regions with low GPS handset penetration."

While many barriers, such as handset penetration levels and the lack of open platforms, still hinder the adoption of alternative positioning methods, the licensing of Skyhook Wireless's Wi-Fi positioning to GPS-chipset vendors Broadcom, Qualcomm, SiRF, and CSR will contribute to widespread availability. Similarly, Sprint's recent decision to allow third-party developers access to its network-based location platform via location aggregators, such as Wavemarket, Loc-Aid, and uLocate, will stimulate the use of hybrid positioning.

At the same time, alternative positioning technologies are shaking up the entire location ecosystem. Major vendors, such as Google, are building their own reference databases of cell-tower and/or Wi-Fi hotspot locations via user-generated content and/or self-learning mechanisms, allowing them to offer LBS services independent of carriers. More importantly, it is likely they will make their location assets available to smaller vendors, further endangering the position of the carriers.

Alternative Positioning Technologies
A new study from ABI Research examines the main trends in this market and offers an in-depth discussion of the ecosystem and value chain. It includes detailed descriptions of the main players, business models, drivers, and barriers, as well as detailed forecasts. The report forms part of the firm's Location Aware Services Research Service.

About ABI
ABI Research is a leading market research firm focused on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets. Using a unique blend of market intelligence, primary research, and expert assessment from its worldwide team of industry analysts, ABI Research assists hundreds of clients each year with their strategic growth initiatives. For information, call 516-624-2500.

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