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CSR Preparing for Large Indoor Location Market

December 17, 2014  - By
SiRFusion SDK brings plug-and-play simplicity to Android app developers.

SiRFusion SDK brings plug-and-play simplicity to Android app developers.

With location industry consolidation, several companies are looking at established players to grow niche markets. United Kingdom-based CSR is leveraging several technologies to grow the nascent indoor location market into a powerhouse.

As GPS World recently reported, Qualcomm agreed to buy CSR, based in the United Kingdom, for $2.5 billion to boost its automotive infotainment and Internet of Things (IoT) offerings.  The deal makes Qualcomm, which spun off its Gimbal location beacon technology into an independent company, a major competitor to chipmaker Broadcom.

Long term, CSR believes that multiple technologies, ranging from satellite- and cellular-based to local beaconing, will allow consumers to expect higher quality location services, said Dave Huntingford, CSR’s director of the location product line. “As part of improving accuracy, we also expect to see the emergence of dual-frequency operation of GNSS in consumer automotive — and, as part of improving security, better spoofing protection,” he said.

CSR recently launched its SiRFusion software development kit, SDK, for Android app developers. The company says the software will enable indoor positioning for developers who want to add such new capabilities as indoor location tagging and analytics for social networking.

“We expect to see good pick-up of the solution over the next few months for a wide variety of location services, and being handset-agnostic is a big benefit for any developer. However, if you are looking for accuracy down in the meter range, you will need to add infrastructure to supplement the location calculation, which can come in many forms,” Huntingford said.

Hutingford believes the big selling point for retailers is striking the balance between benefits they obtain from the app vs. benefits the consumer gets — what he calls the equity balance.

“Too many irrelevant notifications while walking around the shop will result in people not wanting to run the app, and can potentially harm consumer acceptance of retail applications. The interest is already there from the retailer side as the benefits are somewhat obvious, but the question is, what do you give back to an increasingly technology-smart consumer?” he said.

Overall, the indoor location market is attracting major interest in retailers — which is refreshing to many industry observers after seeing online sales cut into brick-and-mortar stores’ profits.

“iBeacons and other beacons proved to be the fastest location-proximity technologies that are being deployed full scale by Macy’s, CVS, and other retailers for a first quarter 2015 rollout,” said Kris Kolodziej, an indoor location-based services advisor.  “I see more acquisitions like the one of Groupon acquiring Swarm Mobile, a beacon platform for smaller tier-two retailers and businesses. In addition, we will see more partnerships like the one between Gimbal and Urban Airship to provide a holistic outdoor-indoor solution for geofencing and engagement platforms.”

About the Author: Kevin Dennehy

Kevin Dennehy is GPS World’s editor for location-based services, writing a monthly column for the LBS Insider newsletter. Dennehy has been writing about the location industry for more than 20 years. He covered GPS and location technology for Global Positioning & Navigation News for seven years. His articles on the wireless industry have been published in both consumer and trade magazines and newspapers.