What is GPS and why is it so important to enterprise mobility solutions.

19-December-2012 19:36
in Technology
by Admin

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a navigation and precise-positioning technology which was originally developed to assist the military to accurately determine the location of vehicles, planes, and ships across the globe. The basic concept of GPS is that a receiver calculates its position by precisely timing the signals sent by GPS satellites in orbit around the Earth. There are 24+ satellites in non- geosynchronous orbit, with around 8-10 in view at any one time. The Satellites broadcast time continuously and location data periodically with the device’s receiver measuring the distance to satellites based on the time difference. A device such as an in car satellite navigation system requires a minimum of 3 satellites to obtain a “Fix” or position. The intersection of three satellite signals yield latitude/longitude; fourth adds altitude (Triangulation).


Today, the uses of GPS have extended to include both the commercial and scientific worlds. Commercially, GPS is used as a navigation and positioning tool in airplanes, boats, cars, and for almost all outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking. In the scientific community, GPS plays an important role in the earth sciences. Meteorologists use it for weather forecasting and global climate studies; and geologists can use it as a highly accurate method of surveying and in earthquake studies to measure tectonic motions during and in between earthquakes.


However, within the world of enterprise mobility GPS or Location Based Services have many applications and is often an underestimated but vital solution component. The majority of enterprise grade or rugged devices from such manufacturers as Intermec, Motorola, or Psion provide GPS as standard within most of their products which underlines the importance of the technology within industrial mobile applications.


The ability to know where your mobile users or assets are at any given time can provide valuable information for improving operational practices. The ability to schedule reactive work orders based on the nearest mobile engineer saves time and improves productivity. The responsibility of businesses for their mobile workers as driven by the “Care of Lone Worker” legislation means that knowing where mobile workers are is critical when responding to emergency calls from mobile users.


Applications utilise location based services directly to provide tracking functionality so that whenever a mobile user completes an action within the application the GPS co-ordinates can be captured along with a time stamp. This information can be used to provide irrefutable evidence for proof of service. GPS tracking details can be used to prove where a mobile worker was at any given time which provides clear evidence to refute customer’s claims for re-visits.


Finally a key benefit of GPS is enabling seamless mobility or smart communications. This will allow users to work with both data and voice applications without needing to think about how they are connected. The ability to define boundaries or geo-fences within an application means that users seamlessly change the connection on their mobile device using an invisible or virtual ‘geographical fence’.


The bottom line with GPS is that it will add value to any enterprise mobility solution and when used in conjunction with other mobile technologies can provide a comprehensive solution enabling businesses to maximise their investment.


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