GPS devices and systems spread

Innovative consumer devices create a wealth of new applications, and new problems for the manufacturers

GPS satellite technology is becoming increasingly important as it is being embedded in an ever-wider range of mobile consumer devices to enable navigation and location-based services. While GPS handsets and in-vehicle navigation systems will remain the most lucrative markets, industrial applications such as network timing, land surveying, and machine control are quickly gaining momentum. By 2013 global navigation satellite system (GNSS) end-user devices and systems will generate $US240 billion a year.

"The implementation of GPS technology in mobile consumer devices such as handsets and digital cameras, and its indoor use, pose some important challenges," said ABI Research's principal analyst Dominique Bonte. "GPS technology was designed for outdoor use and specific military applications, and its weak signals and long fix times are not well-suited to indoor environments and mobile devices such as digital cameras with their low power consumption and always-on requirements."

Innovative workaround solutions based on the post-processing of the GPS signal are being developed, as is the use of assisted-GPS technology to provide location and satellite data to connected devices for faster fixes and better coverage. For deep indoor environments GPS will have to be complemented with alternative positioning technologies such as Wi-Fi, motion sensors or even TV broadcast signals.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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