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Real-time Location Based Services: Four Predictions for 2019

This year will bring larger-scale rollouts, new market players, a growing number of partnerships, higher precision levels and broader interoperability among technologies.
By Fabio Belloni

3) Mobile Operators Will Have a Seat at the LBS Table
RTLS deployments and LBS applications, to date, have largely been an enterprise play, with all but a handful of service providers being left on the sidelines. Mobile operators have historically toiled to be more relevant in the enterprise, trying to monetize business solutions to their customers to solve business problems. As their IoT savvy grows, the ability to offer RTLS-based services and solutions allows them to provide the value enterprises desperately need.

However, there are three keys the enterprise market demands:
• The solutions they provide need to be open—no software lock-ins, an open SDK and an open hardware design for tag development.
• They must support the tracking of both physical tags and smartphones by the same system.
• Solutions must be scalable, robust and reliable.

Offerings that deliver on all three of these keys will pave the way to success in the enterprise market.

4) Location Accuracy Will Drive New Applications
Accuracy in the RTLS sense can be defined as a combination of precision and time (latency). The precision levels required to locate a person or object depends on the application itself. Some applications, such as tracking a large container within a shipyard, may require accuracy within 3 to 5 meters (9.8 to 16.4 feet). Others, such as the tracking of movements of athletes or objects like pucks or tennis balls, may require accuracy at the centimeter level.

Delay, or latency, is another factor in RTLS precision. Not every LBS application requires real-time precision; moving heavy equipment may require location data every minute or two, whereas a 300-millisecond delay is too much for tracking a sports ball. Organizations will determine what their requirements are for real-time location, based on the specific applications they are developing, and advancements in precision will open new doors to a wealth of new applications.

The LBS market demands new levels of openness and interoperability to enable new applications that are widely adopted by both consumers and enterprises. In 2019, we'll see more partnerships, broader interoperability of technologies and solutions, larger-scale rollouts, higher levels of precision and new market players, with the end result of driving real business value across markets and organizations.

Fabio Belloni, the chief customer officer and cofounder of Quuppa, is focused on accelerating the success of the company's partner companies. He is a frequent contributor and the author or co-author of numerous academic papers, and has several granted patents and pending patent applications.

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