Wi-Fi Location Will Become the Top Alternative Location Technology by 2015

ABI Research has forecast that Wi-Fi location will outstrip all other location technologies including GPS, cellular and MEMs, with shipments reaching more than 1 billion by 2015.

Senior analyst Patrick Connolly comments: “Location-based services, revenues and advertising are the hot topics of 2010 as companies grapple to gain control of this market. The key is accurate, ubiquitous location-finding across a variety of portable devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. ABI Research has forecast that with the proliferation of Wi-Fi and increasingly lower cost or free location engines, it will become the most widely available location technology over the next five years.”

The Wi-Fi location market is split between current incumbents such as Skyhook Wireless and Mexens Technologies Inc, the leading GPS companies such as Broadcom and CSR/SiRF, and the new threats from giants such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, and even Facebook.

The recent lawsuit involving Skyhook and Google is a clear indicator of how important this space is becoming. Location is key to unlocking the potential of location-based advertising, marketing, and analytics. With Wi-Fi location set to become ubiquitous it is a vital technology to support. This lawsuit also highlights how, despite a plethora of free solutions, there is a huge market for high-quality location technologies.

Other emerging location technologies include MEMs, barcodes, NFC/RFiD, Bluetooth, and TV. It’s not a case of either/or, but of, a continually evolving hybrid approach. GPS alone will not be sufficient to support the next generation of services and revenue streams. Services such as local search, location-based advertising, geotagging, social networking and augmented reality are all significantly improved through increased accuracy and indoor/ubiquitous location.

ABI Research’s new “Alternative Positioning Technologies” study provides forecasts for each location technology (individual and hybrid), across all key portable device markets. The market for location-based advertising is also considered, for the first time, as a growing source of potential revenue. Forecasts are given for each location technology (individual and hybrid), across all key portable device markets.

This study is part of the Location Platforms and Enablers Research Service which also includes another Market Data product, Research Reports, Research Briefs, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.​

Published Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

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