June 1, 2015
By Mike Gundling
There have been 2 million smartphones sold worldwide, with 6 billion in sales forecast by the end of the decade.
TerraGo believes that’s 6 billion potential sensors.
The mantra “Every soldier a sensor,” proclaimed by the U.S. Army more than a decade ago, has become prophecy, where once it was a wish. As important, the prophecy has extended to the commercial realm, where companies are flocking to a concept that has been fed by a workforce that is already trained to use the location-based technology that is a byproduct of the smartphone revolution.
By product? Given the location-based applications that have followed the advent of GPS technology in the iPhone3 and Android devices in 2007, it’s clear that the smartphone is building its base and planning its future around GPS capability. Industry is following closely, finding new ways to harness both the device’s tools and a workforce that is trained in its use. That workforce includes 58 percent of American adults who own a smartphone and 42 percent who own a GPS-equipped tablet computer. Those phones and computers have an average of 41 applications on each device, and 75 percent of those apps are location-based.
So employees report to work armed with the ability to use a sensor that is becoming increasingly capable of accurate location-based data collection and map use. They bring their phones along in a system called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), and the result is more job satisfaction for the worker and better service for the customer.
Companies are using the devices to perform surveys, maintain electric utilities, inspect oil and gas pipelines, direct shoppers around malls while stores deliver ads to them, dispatch emergency services … the list goes on and on and more uses are being added every day.
The result is companies switching from dedicated GPS devices to the smartphone, saving money both on the instruments and on training employees to use them. More efficiency in operations and less expense in infrastructure is being reflected in return on investment.
For a look at how industry and government are using new, less expensive technology to accomplish GPS tasks while enhancing the bottom line, you are invited to see this article in Milsat Magazine.