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Out in Front: The State of Our Union, 2015

July 1, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

Sometimes you have to stop and, yes, smell the roses, but also survey just how far you’ve come, where you stand at this actual moment, and what directions hold the most promise for the future. When you’re moving as fast as the GNSS and PNT industries do, a periodic pause to assess becomes even more vital.

That’s why we conduct the annual State of the Industry Survey, which generates the State of the Industry Report.

Your part in this, the Survey, starts July 15, when the online survey will be posted at, and remain at that link until August 10.

Our part, the Report of your filings, will appear in the September issue.

Past State of the Industry Reports have borne such insights as these.

September 2012. “Careful optimism appears to be the watchword for the GNSS industry as we head into the next year, tempered with the reality that a full economic recovery has not yet arrived; 65 percent of respondents described the market for GNSS products and services as enjoying either moderate growth or strong growth. ‘With the economy in the state it is in, competition is very tight. That is all right, it keeps our pencils sharp,’ wrote one industry veteran.”

September 2013. After the passage of one year, 69 percent described the market for products and services in their sector as either relatively healthy or very healthy. That’s what’s known in economic circles as “a modest increase.”

Dominating executives’ and managers’ awareness as a key issue shaping the future that year were three candidates, according to John Pottle of Spirent Communications. “Vulnerability of GNSS signals, the flurry of activity following the release of the BeiDou system ICD, and the continuing indoor navigation challenge. Whatever your viewpoint, one thing is clear: there remain plenty of challenges for us all, as indusry insiders, to solve over the coming years.”

October 2014. With another 13 months under our collective belt, we had not fully mastered any of those top three challenges — but we had logged significant progress. Jamming, both intentional and unintentional, along with spoofing led all concerns for 28 percent of survey respondents, and if “constellation health” were added to those worries, fully half of our experts — meaning you — deemed this the industry “issue of the year.” Meanwhile, the percentage of those finding moderate to strong growth in their sector had risen to 74.

Michael Ritter of NovAtel spoke for many when he wrote, “Ultimately, GNSS itself will no longer be enough. Ubiquitous positioining requires multi-sensor fusion that can exponentially increase availability.” And he revealed that NovAtel spends 30 percent of its annual revenue on research and development.

The Future Begins Now. Only you, in your collective wisdom, can tell us where we stand and where we’re headed. I encourage you to help us compile the State of the Industry by filling out a relatively quick online questionnaire. Look for it to be posted on July 15.

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.