Geolocation and IoT: What is the Connection? 

Geolocation is important to make sense of mountains of IoT data in an increasingly digitized world

We live in a world where the Internet has become a common denominator between things, people, and processes. This ecosystem of connected technology or the Internet of Things (IoT) has already moved out of the hype phase to become a part of everyday life – both at home and work.

Who is using IoT?

Market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that by 2025, there will be 41.6 billion Internet-connected devices. But where is the demand for these connected devices coming from? Turns out, pretty much everywhere.

By connecting things and collecting data, IoT-based solutions are solving a wide range of problems across industries:

  • IoT in government agencies is fostering everything from the implementation of smart cities and monitoring of natural resources to improved public safety and better response to emergencies.
  • In the transportation sector, IoT is helping to make the next generation of automobiles more intelligent, efficient, and safe.
  • In the energy industry, IoT is boosting productivity, increasing operational efficiency, and improving reliability by collecting crucial information across the power grid.
  • IoT is making the manufacturing sector more agile than ever by enabling greater levels of automation across factory floors and supply chain, and improving workflows as well as worker safety.
  • Healthcare is witnessing a massive transformation because IoT has not only made real-time monitoring of patients possible, but it has also enabled end-to-end connectivity and affordability of healthcare services.
  • In the retail sector, IoT is fueling smarter supply chain management and helping to deliver personalized in-store experiences to shoppers.
  • IoT-enabled sensors are enabling the real estate industry to create spaces that more energy-efficient than ever before, apart from adding foresight for predictive maintenance activities.
  • In-home automation, IoT is acting as the central point of smart management through which connected home devices are able to deliver efficiencies and context awareness to homeowners.

Also Read: 5 Industries Being Transformed by IoT and Location Intelligence

The applications of IoT are both emerging and growing. However, it is not just the sensors that are increasing in number. According to the IDC report referenced earlier, by 2025, the 41.6 billion IoT devices will be generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data.

Making sense of these mountains of data will become critical for individuals, industries, and governments alike to derive value from an increasingly digitized world.

Now, every sensor has a story to tell. But on its own, that story is peripheral at best.

However, once you add geolocation to the mix, you get a vital thread to tie together disparate data streams coming from all the sensors. For example, sensor data backed by spatial awareness can provide insurance companies with first-hand information about a natural disaster, improving their ability to proactively address claims. Similarly, an IoT-based smart grid system, when powered by geolocation, will allow power companies to isolate faults to their precise location and provide resolutions faster.

Geolocation and IoT Connectivity

Today, there are several different services which are enabling the delivery of a location coordinate onto an internet-connected device for easy monitoring and management. For outdoor assets, there are traditional positioning services such as geographic positioning system (GPS) or cell tower signals that act as positioning anchors.

However, since the majority of sensors are placed indoors, where the coverage and efficiency of traditional GPS may not be optimum, many decentralized location mechanisms have also come up. These indoor localization techniques leverage technologies like RFID, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or beacons.

Then, for applications that need not send lots of data every day, there is a different class of IoT connectivity which is known as Low Powered Wide Area Network or LPWAN. These technologies, such as Narrowband-IoT, LoRa, and SigFox, operate on small, inexpensive batteries for years and have an operating range of more than 2km in dense urban settings.

Choosing the right technology for your Geo IoT project is as important as making sure that geolocation is a core service of your IoT infrastructure. When optimum and interoperable geolocation technology is integrated into the IoT ecosystem as part of the business strategy, it eliminates the need for further implementation of geolocation functionalities for emerging use cases, thereby reducing development costs. A scalable geolocation solution will work as quickly and efficiently for a million devices as it will for a 100, and deliver economy of scale in the process.

Moreover, interoperability ensures that other elements or sensors can easily be introduced to create new use cases. For example, if a construction company is using Geo IoT for tracking heavy machinery on the construction site, it could easily upgrade the workflow to predictive maintenance by adding pressure, vibration, and ultrasound sensors which would monitor fuel consumption, brake temperature, engine RPM, tire pressure, etc.

Growing Adoption and Future Trends

When market research company Forrester released its annual 2019 IoT predictions after surveying more than 675,000 consumers and business leaders across the world, more than 85% of the companies surveyed said that they will implement or plan to implement IoT solutions to drive efficiencies, connect the enterprise, expand their edge, and provide personalized customer experiences. Clearly, businesses are getting serious about IoT.

This trend is only going to lead to more innovations in the field of geolocation. The subsequent geospatial analytics of IoT data will create new opportunities and deliver better business outcomes for organizations by revealing previously-hidden patterns and relationships. Technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence will further advance the uptake of IoT by simulating intelligent behavior in devices of all kinds.

To sum up, the fusion of geolocation with the IoT will continue to provide businesses with limitless opportunities to transform and become more smart, efficient, and secure than ever. If you also want to be a part of this revolutions, give your organization the edge of adding precise location data to IoT today. Contact us here.

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