Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Will GloPos dethrone GPS?

I don't know why GloPos wants to stake its claims against GPS.  But the short answer to the question in the title is: unlikely.  I will give 4 reasons here:
  1. Wireless emergency services can not use GloPos.  Wireless operators worldwide however must deploy control plane positioning technology and/or GPS to support positioning during emergency calls. 
  2. User plane positioning technology has converged on the SUPL standard.  SUPL enabled handsets and location servers have been commercially available since 2008.  Almost every A-GPS capable smartphone on the market today is equipped with a SUPL stack.  A SUPL server is capable of network-based positioning based on single-cell and multi-cell NMR (Network Measurement Report), which is the same principled technology used by GloPos.  When both wireless operators and OEMs world-wide are investing in SUPL, GloPos will have a tough time to market a competing technology.
  3. NMR positioning is not newTruePosition and Cambridge Positioning Systems were two of the early marketers of this technology 10 years ago.  Their accuracy, confidence and deployment cost claims are even better than those from GloPos if you simply compare their marketing brochures.  GloPos however has not provided any driving test results.
  4. GloPos data cost is too high.  Each positioning session in GloPos requires at least 100Kb data to be transferred, according to this article.  In-car navigation needs a typical 5-second refresh rate.  Thus a 30-minute drive will generate over 4.3MB of data traffic just for positioning alone! 
GloPos seems to have rebranded themselves an "indoor positioning" technology provider since I checked them last September.  But it is interesting that GloPos has now included Google in their competitor category.  Is Google indoor location truly not as accurate as GloPos?  Has any real user noticed a material difference?  Celluar indoor positioning is a hardly a match to short-range radio indoor positioning.  But is GloPos encroaching on SkyHook's turf?

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