Why GNSS needs a makeover for IoT

Geolocation is everywhere in our daily lives. Most of us use geolocation from our smartphones on a daily basis: for driving directions, finding a nearby restaurant, or even catching pokemons! Many of the apps that we use access the location functions of the phone, which usually comes from the embedded GNSS chipset, complemented by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and various sensors embedded in the smartphone.

In the IoT world, precise access to location is also key, and is required by many important applications, for instance:

Wearables are a fast-growing segment, where precise location is key (in particular for sports). This is made challenging by the miniaturization of devices, and need for long battery life

Asset tracking is another important IoT use case, which obviously requires access to location

Industrial: on the factory floor, controlling the location of key parts can lead to important savings

Logistics: with real-time access to location, logistics can be improved by removing human errors,

and mitigating liability with insurance companies

In fact, location for IoT opens-up many new services that can drive adoption of IoT technologies. For instance, the use of geo-fencing is finding more and more applications (for instance in fleet management, or secure payments). This trend will continue to evolve, creating an even bigger need for IoT geolocation solutions.

The challenge for IoT geolocation is that constraints in terms of power, size, and cost are even more stringent than for smartphones. The table above highlights the key differences in requirements between a smartphone and an IoT device

That requires completely rethinking the approach to location for IoT devices, as existing smartphone GNSS chipsets will not work well for IoT. This is what we focus on at Nestwave, by designing solutions that focus primarily on low-power, high-sensitivity and fast time-to-fix.

In future blogs we will talk more about what makes our solutions different.

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