A Bain & Company report has outlined global exponential growth in the IoT markets from US$235b in 2017 to more than double at US$520b by 2021. Asia-Pacific has been cited to be the fastest growing region accounting up to 36.9% of worldwide spend. Singapore and South Korea are leading the pack, with smart buildings, security, and surveillance and traffic management as some of the fastest growing segments.
Singapore’s plans to be the world’s first smart nation is already well along the way. Along with holding the top spot in the world on the Network Readiness Index, having the fastest connection speed globally makes Singapore a prime spot for digital businesses to prosper. Government funding has been put in place in improving location accuracy island wide, to make the collection and purposing of data even smoother for municipal and public services.
With the nation’s efforts for better location accuracy, the improved capabilities of indoor positioning technology plays an integral role towards better data acquisition, with studies showing that on average we spend 90% of our time indoors.
Data gathered from indoor positioning platforms can become the foundation that gives businesses usable, accurate insights that correlate personnel habits and interactions with the environment, and the location of assets.
The potential of indoor positioning for industries
The wealth of data that indoor positioning solutions will be the baseline in the future that supports many industries.
Retail: The success in covert tracking solutions are limited. By being direct with customers, retailers can expect engagement by incorporating gamification elements creatively to reward customers for activities within the space. Combine that with smart shelves like in honestbee's Habitat that track eye movement, and recommendation engines that work alongside purchase histories, and we will see the resurgence of the retail experience.
Education: Educators are exploring wearable tech for students through POSB's Smart Buddy program, the addition of tracking functionalities can help educators keep their students safe. Combined with biometric sensors, educators will be able to address any potential challenges or problems that students might not be able to express, and ensure that students hit their development milestones.
Healthcare: Active tracking of patients with dementia, where alerts will be triggered to inform to their next of kin in the event that they move out of their safe zones. This can be combined with Singapore’s Smart Nation Health initiatives such as assistive healthcare, and HealthHub programs to bolster efforts.
The technology needs to be current, calibrated, and connected, for your needs
Indoor positioning technology is still at a nascent stage and is only going to get better.
Current: The latest in hardware and software communication protocols sees major improvements from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5.0 with expanded limitations and applications. Bluetooth Low Energy maintains easier beacon usage, and compared to its predecessor, Bluetooth 5.0 has four times the range up to 240 meters, has twice the speed at up to 2 Mbps, and eight times the broadcasting capacity to handle larger streams of data.
Calibrated: New age indoor positioning platform will have beacons equipped with multiple sensors, working synergistically to gather environmental data, such as temperature or humidity, can give prompt alerts in places where that is sensitive. Sensors that detect pollutants or hazards such as air toxicity can keep personnel safe in high risk working environments.
Connected: Future technological capabilities have no silos, the multiple sensors and the sheer amount of raw data gathered from indoor positioning platforms need to be systematically managed. Data visualisation for intuitive interpretations and tiered access for relevant personnel keeps information secure and avoids information overload. The software component for the solution should be platform/cloud-agnostic, allowing seamless integration to enhance existing platforms.
Bluetooth Low Energy will be the cornerstone driving the advancements of indoor positioning platforms
The next step forward
The indoor positioning industry will reach US$58b by 2023, driven mainly for the tracking of personnel and assets and as businesses begin to see the value of data that can be derived from indoor positioning platforms.
Predictive analytics and data visualisation will be incorporated to circumvent points of failure, and actively engage effective practices could become the tipping point for greater levels of adoption. The industries that we foresee will benefit the most are the logistics, healthcare, and oil and gas industries.
The competition will raise standards across the board, and indoor positioning platforms will be expected to understand the challenges of the industries they serve and provide basic off the shelf solutions to answer those challenges and provide the option for customised solutions.
The growth of market possibilities by 2025 show adoption of indoor positioning platforms across many industries
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Louis Kent Lee is the Head of Accounts & Engagement at VIATICK.
VIATICK is an IoT company that specialises in the bluetooth shorthaul space. Its solutions backbone for track & trace provides visibility for indoor tracking of personnel & assets in harsh environments in the logistics, construction, secured facilities and industrials space. Louis champions business development activities, manage public relations work, and oversees the financial activities of VIATICK.