Wi-Fi location will become the most widely used location technology outstripping all other technologies including GPS, cellular and MEMs, according to a new study by a leading research company.
With location becoming the key to unlocking the potential of location-based advertising, marketing and analytics, and W-Fi location a key technology that will support this trend, new players such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and Facebook are all vying for a share of the market.
Patrick Connolly, a senior analyst at ABI Research, said there is a huge market for high quality location technologies: “The key is accurate, ubiquitous location-finding across a variety of portable devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.”
ABI Research has forecast that with the proliferation of Wi-Fi and increasingly lower cost or free location engines, Wi-Fi will become the most widely available location technology by 2015. It predicts that within five years, the number of Wi-Fi shipments will reach more than 1 billion.
Other location technologies that are beginning to gain a foothold in the market are MEMs, barcodes, NFC/RFID, Bluetooth, and TV.
According to the ABI, GPS alone will not have enough capacity to support the next generation of services and revenue streams, which include local search, location-based advertising, geotagging, social networking and augmented reality, which are all significantly improved through increased accuracy and indoor/ubiquitous location, such as Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi location market is currently split between Skyhook Wireless and Mexens Technologies Inc, the leading GPS companies such as Broadcom and CSR/SiRF, and now face new threats from giants such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, and even Facebook.
The recent lawsuit involving Skyhook and Google is a clear indicator of how important this space is becoming.