Wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT) and iBeacons are reviving the personal GPS tracking device market, according to ABI Research.
Beset by fragmentation, pricey gadgets, nebulous ROI and its struggles with indoor locations, the market never reached its potential, argues ABI. That's set to change in just a few short years.
The analyst firm forecasts that market will reach over $3.5 billion in 2019 as businesses and consumers flock to location-aware devices.
Following the smartphone and tablet boom, telecommunications providers are poised to expand into other device classes, renewing interest into the navigation and location tech. "Carriers eager to solve the problem of saturated markets have begun to reconsider this space with the dawn of GPS-enabled wearables and the Internet of everything," said ABI senior analyst Patrick Connolly in a statement.
Businesses are also getting into the act, spurring innovation in the workplace. Connolly cited enterprise GPS companies like Quattro Wireless and Masternaut, which "are moving into areas such as mobile workforce management and lone worker applications.
In May, ABI predicted a boom in the enterprise wearables market, reaching $18 billion in 2019 a blistering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56.1 percent. Wearables will "become an integral part of enterprise mobile enablement strategies," said ABI.
Salesforce, expecting 180 million wearables to be sold in 2018 compared to 50 million units this year (according to an IHS forecast) kicked off a developer program called Salesforce Wear in June. Google incorporated wearables support into Google Play Services 5.0 for Android last month.
GPS will also play a role in the IoT-friendly connected home. Connolly points to the partnership between locator app maker Life360 and home security giant ADT as proof that "the connected home market will evolve to support personal protection" based on GPS-enabled tech.
Manufacturers of GPS chips are already feeling the effects of heightened demand.
ABI reported "a significant increase in GPS IC shipments into this space over the past year, as low-cost GPS units become adopted worldwide for a host of applications."
Based on their ability to solve the GPS indoor blind spots, low-cost, Bluetooth-powered iBeacons will surface "as a major driver" of increased consumer demand, said the research firm. "With BLE beacons forecast to penetrate into all aspects of life over the next 3 years, consumer awareness and acceptance will quickly emerge."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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