The Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has come a long way from its beginnings in early 70’s. According to ABI Research, GPS market will be worth over $2 billion by 2021. GPS devices and apps are becoming ubiquitous these days. From Pokemon Go to Google Maps, from Waze to location-based tracking and security services, GPS has disrupted the tech market in a unique way. GPS related app development and hardware devices have a huge potential of return for investors, mobile app developers and tech enthusiasts in general. Let’s delve deeper and take a look at some of the GPS-based apps and hardware trends that are going to change the market dynamics of tech in 2017.
Breadcrumb Trail Navigation in Shopping
A lot of work is being done on the breadcrumb trail navigation technology for shopping to make GPS-based cart systems which will make shopping in grocery stores much easier. The idea is to track the customers with carts in stores and let them checkout easily using special devices installed in stores. This will reduce the hassle and long lines. Bluetooth radios and GPS will help the store staff and customers to interact quickly. Customers can also use self-service systems like RFID based payment checkout systems, and the store will get all the related data at a central Cloud-based server.
GPS Phones for Kids
Kids these days want a smartphone of their own. A GPS-embedded system in phone’s hardware is going to be the trend in 2017 because GPS enabled through software or app could be turned off easily, creating problems for parents in tracking kids’ locations. A phone having a hard GPS system in it will ensure security of kids.
SeqSLAM: A Paradigm Shift
So far, we have been relying on satellite-based GPS navigation, which tends to fail when we are in underground trains, midst of huge buildings and low signal areas. But this is about the change. Sequence Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SeqSLAM) is the new research area, and definitely a GPS trend of 2017, using which GPS driven apps and systems will be able to navigate without satellite signals, primarily due to services such as Google’s Street View and huge GIS databases compiled by companies throughout the world. One should keep a keen eye on SeqSLAM technology as analysts expect that upcoming mobile apps and devices will have to incorporate this game-changer for innovation.
GPS in Drone Delivery
Commercial use of drones is becoming increasingly common. Companies like Domino’s, Amazon are on their way to start mass usage of drones for product deliveries. GPS-based apps for drones and their companion versions for smartphones will be trend in 2017. Mobile developers will be required to developer apps that would help customers and companies to efficiently track their drone-based deliveries in real time.
The role of GPS in Augmented Reality and Connected Systems is vital. StarChart, an app that lets you annotate the sky and see all the stars and planets above you based on your location via your smartphone, is just one example of how GPS can become a game-changer in AR. Scale up this concept and you have GPS playing at the center of advanced systems like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google Glass and Facebook’s VR systems. Integration of GPS in AR will be an important trend in 2017.
GPS spoofing in Security and Defense
GPS spoofing is an important concept that has gained popularity mainly in security and defense sector. Bad guys around the world can hack into GPS systems and make drones, cars and planes go to wrong places, without raising any red flag in internal systems. Creating apps and software to tackle advanced GPS spoofing is going to be a trend in 2017.
Advanced Car Navigation
Car navigation is quickly taking new turns, thanks to Augmented Reality and new innovations in GPS. Carmakers around the world are working on head-up displays (HUD) to make car navigation easier and safer for users. However, there are plethora of challenges in this domain, including the issue of reality perception, risk aversion and costs. Optimizing GPS systems for HUD in cars, especially for self-driving cars is definitely going to be a hot area to work on in 2017.
Telemetrics is a giant industry, constantly hungry for innovation and technology. GPS is expected to change the face of fleet management with new concepts like automation of resource allocation, real-time alerts, fleet tracking, self-driving and route optimization based on the location of the packages. Geo-fencing and conventional GPS usage in fleet management are swiftly developing into a more useful resource in the sector. Fleet companies around the world are going to adopt the trend of equipping drivers with mobile devices using which they could log time, location and other specifics for smart enterprise planning and optimization. All of this will be possible with advanced GPS programming.
Antiterrorism and Crime Mapping
We are in a dire need of technology-laden antiterrorist equipment and techniques. GIS is by far one of the most viable options to respond, mitigate and repel terrorist activities. Apps and hardware can be developed to track bad guys using Geospatial tools and trackers. ‘Crime Mapping’ has been used for decades in the US to detect the events of disturbance in certain areas beforehand. This area could be scaled up around the world using satellite imagery, mapping, Big Data and LiDAR.
Defense and Military Programs
Militaries and defense institutions all over the world are working on innovation ways to upgrade the conventional GPS systems to avoid things like jamming and spoofing. The US military is working on next-generation GPS systems like GPS 3, GPS OCX, which have nearly $2 billion investments. Defense institutions have become welcoming to new ideas. If you are a GPS enthusiast and show your mettle in these days, you stand a great chance to change your life.
GPS-Based Social Media
People have had enough of Facebook and Snapchat. They now want to actually socialize with the people. An app connecting people based on their locations will be the trend in 2017. You can’t just go out and ask others for friendship. An app showing people with the same interests nearby with unique features will definitely become a hit.
Indoor Mapping is the need of the hour. People getting lost in airports, museums, big retail stores and giant buildings is common. The only way to solve this problem is to tag and map indoors. Google started indoor-mapping back in 2013. Indoor mapping has a vast potential to thrive as we develop more and more complex buildings and structures. An app helping people navigate indoors of famous tourist resorts or airports will definitely become popular.
Farming and Agriculture
GPS has a big role to play in farming and crops in the future. Variable-rate technology (VRT) fertilizer is a great example showing how useful GIS can be for food security and crop production. A GPS-enabled crop machine will throw fertilizers on the ground based on its soil fertility value, which will be programmed in it using GIS information. This will help in increasing production, saving costs like pesticides, fuel and time. Site-specific information can be used to calculate health of a certain piece of land or crops, and then spend resources on it accordingly. High-precision images of crops and land could be taken from UAVs or satellites. These images use color coding and light to depict water deficit, yield potential and plant strength. These results could be standardized and machines could be automated to use fertilizers and pesticides on land based on these standards. This technique will save resources, and help target specific areas to avoid losses in the future. High-throughput plant phenotyping (HTPP) is a hot research area which has the potential to unlock new horizons in the field of agriculture. GPS-based apps and hardware could be used to repel insects, control plants and cattle and give alerts based on weather and animal location.
GPS Apps for Space and Astronomy: Mapping the Universe
The search for new worlds have opened new vistas of research and development in the space industry. NASA rolled out its THEMIS camera system to map and explore the Red planet based on real time images and mapping. This concept is now being used by researchers to map the universe. Using astronomical projections or sensory data from satellites and telescopes, apps and software have the potential to map different planets and stars, and let end-users play around with the visual data. This gives a whole new set of opportunities for developing cool and productive apps for space and astronomy industry.