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2010.03.05

ABI's Bonte, CeBIT Destination ITS Navigation Guru, Sees Telematics Going New Directions

Dominique Bonte, Research Director – Telematics & Navigation for ABI Research, delivered the keynote address for CeBIT 2010's ITS Conference. When we spoke with him last week, he indicated that growth opportunities in Telematics and M2M are not likely to come from Personal Navigation Devices and after-market automotive navigation systems. He said the growth opportunities in 201o seem to be coming from healthcare, home automation and smart grid.

Navigation certainly remains relevant, but the module makers that enable intelligent, connected devices, Bonte said, report that this year has kicked off with considerably more attention to new form factors, including tablet PCs, e-readers, and digital cameras, which are all trending toward multimodal functions, including GPS-navigation sensors. Therefore the chipset manufacturers are introducing more combo chipsets this year, starting with GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, and this week at CeBIT in Hannover. These new chipsets may include combos such GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth capabliities.

Nevertheless, the GPS is not necessarily going to be included in all location-aware devices. The iPad, Bonte noted, uses Wi-Fi to establish location awareness based on triangulation with base stations and wireless modem IP addressing. GPS does not work well indoors, he noted, and the social applications that iPad users seek may not require pinpoint accuracy. You would only need to know that your friend is in the neighborhood, he said, not that they are 20 feet away.

Stay tuned for more insights from Bonte next week, including his expectations for the evolution of automotive telematics, challenges in global spectrum allocation, and the future of satellite-based positioning systems.

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