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Emerging GPS Technology Applications Move Indoors

Global positioning system (GPS) wireless technology has transformed terrestrial travel and navigation, but there are numerous other uses. Now these nascent technology applications and new use cases are emerging both inside and outside the home.

GPS personal tracking device shipments will more than double by 2021 with a 21 percent CAGR, as the industry shifts away from traditional markets, such as family and pet locator devices.

ABI Research predicts that non-traditional markets -- including elderly or health, corporate, and personal asset tracking -- will embrace ubiquitous indoor and outdoor location technology.

Indoor Location Market Development

"Traditional markets still attract attention, given the huge total available market, but they remain too fragmented, with no obvious sales and distribution channels," said Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research.

As a result, a number of established companies in this space are being forced to consider new areas to find future market growth.

New healthcare applications in elderly, dementia, and remote patient monitoring, for instance, have great potential. ABI Research anticipates location-enabled health devices to break two million shipments by 2021.

When you consider the fact that average healthcare spending is increasing at a time when approximately 30 percent of U.S. hospitals report that they're losing money, there is an immediate need for technology to remove the inherent inefficiencies of this market.

Location Technology Application Trends

Meanwhile, the lone worker market shows significant acquisition activity, which is leading to an increase in pricing pressures as companies look to buy market share.

ABI Research finds this to be a dangerous strategy in a market that will not scale rapidly. But the technology is there to support more stringent legislation, and indoor location will open up new applications and services in corporate.

"We see stronger device shipments in corporate, industrial and personal asset tracking, with a combined total exceeding 25 million by 2021," concludes Connolly.

BLE beacons will open up these markets, but there are a host of other technologies emerging -- such as UWB, sensor fusion, magnet field, proprietary Wi-Fi and LPWAN. Moreover, ABI analysts believe that this combination of wireless technologies will spark more demand for outdoor technologies like GPS.

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