The advertising and marketing industries will see intelligent geolocation services play out in 2014, supported by a standard feature in smartphones that ABI Research describes as the ability to combine disparate sensory data from a variety of sources.
In fact, by 2016, the research firm estimates that 1 billion smartphones will have "sensor fusion" -- location-based sensory capabilities. "Sensor fusion is vital in enabling a consistent location experience, RF mapping and the industry to scale rapidly," per ABI Senior Analyst Patrick Connolly, noting that it will become the most important indoor sensor location-based technology by 2017.
Connolly points to Movea, HillCrest, indoo.rs and Senionlab as an example of some companies creating the next generation of acquisitions and partnerships in indoor location features. New features arriving next year will require the ability to integrate data from multiple sensors in smartphones.
The sensors will support the hype around the Internet of things, but research analysts like Forrester Research Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps believe the "fragmented landscape of devices with small installed bases that produce siloed data to which marketers have limited access" continues to stifle growth.
Sensors used in manufacturing, healthcare and utilities for years continue to make their way into consumer products. During the next three to five years, improvements in technology will give marketers more to work with, per Epps. "Next-generation sensors and processors will enable marketers to deliver more contextually relevant services," she writes in a Forrester report titled "There Is No Internet Of Things." Not yet, anyway. That doesn't mean consumers are not ready.
In Q2 2013, Forrester surveyed 4,673 U.S. online adults and asked them what types of devices and services they would like to use if available at an affordable price. Consumers said they want to use or are currently using sensors to track patterns of daily life like a diary, get feedback for improvements on oral care or posture, and control their environments such as monitor and adjust energy usage in their home.
Connolly is calling for brands, not technology companies, to create the next innovation. Sensors are inexpensive and are becoming less expensive as they mature. This, along with other factors, has led Forrester analysts to believe the next great devices won't come from Dell, Hewlett-Packard or Samsung, but rather Audi, Coca-Cola, Disney and Nike.