Throughout the ages, location-based services have always been one of the most important areas of human social activities, ranging from guiding and exploring the world to navigating the world. Almost any activity cannot be completed without “location information”. With the rapid development of economy and technology, the ubiquitous means of satellite positioning, communication technology and cloud computing are improving day by day, and the role of location services in the new era of the Internet of Things will continue to increase.


According to Market Insight Reports Forecast Report, the “Internet of Things with Geolocation” market is expected to grow from $40 billion today to $74 billion by 2025.


At the same time, the ever-increasing positioning market has correspondingly attracted the covetousness of major giants. Just recently, giants in different fields, including Semtech and Huawei, have successively released their new products in the positioning market, demonstrating their positioning in the market. ambition in the market. In this way, we might as well sort out what changes have taken place in the IoT positioning market in recent years.


Leading enterprises have successively laid out and positioned the market

Just last month, the positioning market ushered in heavy news one after another. One is that the LoRa chip provider Semtech brought a brand new LoRa Edge LR1120 chip, which integrates 2.4GHz and the authorized S-band for satellite communication, realizing the support The ability of networked applications to directly connect to satellites and global deployment; another is that Huawei released the HUAWEI Mate Xs2, which is equipped with 3D accurate indoor positioning technology to bring users a new experience of indoor “store-level” accurate positioning.


Semtech develops positioning service and satellite communication market

Semtech’s layout and positioning market is actually not the latest news. As early as 2020, Semtech launched the LoRa Edge geolocation platform, and at the same time launched the first chip Semtech LR1110 based on LoRa Edge technology, for industry, building, home, agriculture, transportation And vertical industries such as logistics, providing coverage indoor and outdoor positioning capabilities.

In January this year, Semtech and Tencent Cloud also jointly announced that the LoRa Edge geolocation service will be officially integrated into the Tencent Cloud IoT development platform. The upgraded solution enables Chinese users to quickly connect LoRa Edge-based IoT devices to the cloud, and combines with Tencent Maps’ highly reliable and high-coverage Wi-Fi positioning capabilities to achieve flexible, low-power, and cost-effective solutions. Geolocation service scheme.

This time, the new LR1120 chip launched by Semtech is an upgrade based on the LR1110 chip. Its biggest feature is that in addition to the same ultra-low power consumption features as the previous generation, it also supports terrestrial and satellite networks, which can achieve farther positioning coverage. , The transmission bandwidth is larger.

Specifically, the LR1120 based on LoRa ultra-low-power technology still supports Wi-Fi passive scanning and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) scanning interfaces and other positioning technologies with the lowest power consumption in the world. Unlike traditional positioning technologies, LR1120 Supports positioning data analysis in the cloud, which enables the battery life of devices equipped with the LR1120 to be maintained for several years.

In addition, the biggest difference between the LR1120 and the previous generation is that it not only retains the Sub-GHz frequency band, but also adds two frequency bands, S-band and 2.4GHz for satellite communication. The 2.4GHz frequency band solves the problem that Sub-GHz can only be used between regions and supports unified use worldwide. Satellite communication makes up for the blanks in deserts, oceans, high altitudes and other land without network coverage, which makes LR1120 support the Internet of Things Global deployment of applications.

At the same time, one chip is compatible with three sets of “transceivers”. By organically combining the three communication technologies, the system has higher scalability and robustness, and the rich functions will not bring additional costs. Increase.


Huawei deploys high-precision indoor positioning to help smart travel

Coincidentally, Huawei’s layout of positioning services is also not a recent thing. Previously, Huawei launched the Petal Maps Platform for developers, which integrates the four capabilities of map, search, positioning, and planning, and integrates multiple fusion signals, accurate floor recognition, map area matching, AI modeling and high Accurate 3D dead reckoning algorithm and other technologies.

This time, Huawei released the HUAWEI Mate Xs2, a folding screen mobile phone equipped with 3D accurate indoor positioning technology. Based on the indoor positioning capabilities of the Petal Maps Platform, it can achieve “store-level” accurate positioning, automatic cross-layer switching, and continuous positioning. Uninterrupted functions .

For consumers, users can experience brand-new positioning and new services. For example, when you are in a shopping mall, through this technology, you can directly lock the target store, no matter how many floors or numbers, you can easily reach it. What’s more interesting is that this technology breaks through the limitation of two-dimensional coordinate positioning, and realizes accurate vertical positioning, continuous positioning across layers, indoor POI near field is a 3D positioning experience, avoiding the overlapping of two people’s positions because they are not on the same floor. An embarrassing scene where you can’t meet.

For developers and commercial customers, it is possible to build solutions for indoor positioning scenarios to maximize commercial value. For example, with access to Huawei’s 3D accurate indoor positioning technology, businesses can accurately place products based on user interests and locations, and takeaway or other delivery platforms can accurately locate the recipient address, etc.

According to Huawei’s official description, Huawei’s 3D accurate indoor positioning technology integrates multiple signal sources, mainly integrating 4G/5G cellular networks, Bluetooth beacon, Wi-Fi, UWB, and geomagnetic signals and other signal sources based on indoor conditions. This algorithm realizes the indoor meter-level 3D positioning experience.

At present, Huawei’s 3D precise indoor positioning technology has covered 160+ cities, 1300+ core business districts, 20+ large-scale transportation hubs and other large and medium-sized public buildings in China.


The location-based services market has ushered in huge changes

It can be seen that both Semtech and Huawei are actually verifying the prosperity of the positioning service market in the Internet of Things era. At the same time, behind this prosperity, we can also peel off the cocoon and discover the subtle changes in the positioning market.


From technology-driven to commercial-driven

In the past few decades, IoT positioning technology can be said to have made great progress, and location awareness has become the most important part of the Internet of Everything. Similar to the development process of any technology, in the early days, the industry was often keen to promote and popularize related technologies from the perspective of the supply side, hoping to win the favor of the market through its strong performance and cost-effectiveness.

Now it seems that the progress of wireless communication-based positioning solutions is not dependent on the development of technology, but more importantly, it depends on the realization of business. Of course, this is based on the continuous progress of technology, but more importantly, the focus of the industry at this stage is more focused on changes in the demand side.

For example, Semtech launched the LR1120 chip, which is based on the increasing level of globalization, the relationship between the global supply chain has been strengthened, and more and more applications such as global supply chain management, freight logistics, and asset tracking have emerged. There is a growing demand for reliable IoT location technology. The application of satellite communication can appropriately help supply chain management and logistics industries to deploy interconnected, low-power geolocation equipment on a global scale.


Technology fusion to create more practical solutions

In addition, various positioning technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, UWB, satellite, and cellular base stations have been born in the industry. Among them, GPS and base station positioning are mainly outdoor positioning technologies, while others are mainly used for indoor high-precision positioning. position. Relying on their respective advantages, these communication positioning technologies can be said to have formed a market pattern of “a hundred schools of thought contending” in the IoT market.

However, due to the fragmented characteristics of the Internet of Things, its application scenarios are complex and diverse, resulting in different hidden needs in different scenarios, and it is difficult to solve all problems with one set of technologies. At the same time, each positioning technology is not perfect, and each has its own shortcomings. Therefore, relevant solution providers need to constantly weigh various constraints, such as positioning accuracy, power consumption, scalability, upgradeability, cost, deployment difficulty, etc., and do their best to create positioning solutions. Scheme “Optimal Solution”.

And what is the optimal solution? Judging from the current market performance, technology integration has become the only way to position the market for development. For example, the Semtech LR1120 chip integrates Wi-Fi and satellite communications; Huawei’s 3D precise indoor positioning integrates 4G/5G cellular networks, Bluetooth beacon, Wi-Fi, UWB, and geomagnetic signals and other communication methods. , so as to achieve a perfect solution.


Location-based services are becoming more seamless

Furthermore, creating a seamless location service experience has become an unshakable trend. The location coverage requires not only from regional to global, but also from outdoor to indoor, providing seamless coverage of all scenarios, all spaces, and full coverage. positioning service.

For example, the launch of the Semtech LR1120 chip has spatially filled the gaps in deserts, oceans, and remote rural or mountainous areas that lack traditional network coverage, providing a connection foundation for truly realizing “every plant and tree on earth”. Based on this, environmental monitoring in remote areas, forest/ocean/desert detection, ultra-long-distance asset tracking, marine transportation, smart earth and many other fields can also be fully and better carried out.

Similarly, only using GNSS positioning in an outdoor environment can achieve a higher and more stable positioning experience and meet our daily positioning needs. However, in indoor or densely built areas, GNSS signals cannot penetrate buildings, resulting in indoor positioning signals. Weaker, less accurate, and equally disastrous for consumer users. Huawei’s 3D precise indoor positioning technology achieves “both internal and external” by integrating other communication positioning technologies.


Positioning accuracy requirements are getting higher and higher

Finally, the positioning market is moving in the direction of higher-precision positioning, especially in the consumer market, which has shown a strong demand, and the demand for meter-level or even sub-meter-level positioning has emerged.

For example, LoRa Edge is mainly aimed at the positioning range of 10-50 meters, and realizes the positioning system of medium-precision positioning. However, in the case of increasing high precision, it can also be combined with GPS, Bluetooth, UWB and other positioning technologies through the “LoRa+” method. Fusion to achieve high-precision positioning requirements within a fixed range, and has advantages in deployment cost, coverage, construction and installation, etc.


All in all, the positioning market should become a “sweet pastry” for giants to compete for, but it is worth noting that in today’s technology is quite mature, the success of positioning services is no longer a simple product, but whether it is feasible to create The “scenario-based solution” of the company achieves commercial implementation, which reflects not only the technical accumulation of an enterprise, but also the integration and service capabilities. Obviously, there will be more expectations for giants like Semtech and Huawei to enter the game…