M2M Proves Advantages of Location


Knowing where a person is located can provide substantial benefits. M2M technologies that use location services enable a wide array of applications across both the consumer and business markets, often for services that contribute to health or safety. By using locator technologies, companies can keep better track of workers, and caregivers can better monitor patients or loved ones.

For the elderly or people with health problems, locator devices can be lifesaving products. Today, many of these devices can determine when someone has fallen, or even if the person’s normal routine has been suspended.

According to research from Berg Insight, www.berginsight.com, device vendors are focusing on the growing market of systems to assist seniors either at home or in facilities. Falling under the heading of telecare or PERS (personal emergency response system) these products provide a range of functionality. While some require a user to press a button, others use sensors to determine if a user may need assistance.

Berg Insight says telecare devices are now being launched that include cellular connectivity. These products are beneficial to seniors who are active and may often be away from a home wireline network.

Locator devices are also being used to monitor children. Overall, Berg Insight says family locator services is the largest segment for people monitoring and safety solutions based on GPS-enabled smartphones or dedicated cellular/GPS locator devices. Some of the systems rely on apps for mobile devices, and there were an estimated 30 million active users of family locator and location sharing apps in Europe and North America at the end of the second quarter of 2013, says Berg.

In addition to promoting health and safety, locator systems can work for business users as well. Berg Insight says one area seeing increased locator use is mobile workforce management. In Europe and North America, the research firm forecasts this segment will grow from 0.8 million users in 2012 to nearly 2.5 million by 2018.

Some of the industries driving this growth include construction, distribution, healthcare, and companies with extensive field service operations. There are a few factors supporting the growth of these solutions for business. One is the rise of smartphone apps that allow smaller companies to adopt the solutions without the need for large IT departments. Additionally, more companies are concerned about providing protections for lone workers, whether due to insurance costs or regulations.

The addition of location services to mobile devices allows people work and live more safely. By providing a link to help in an emergency, locator devices support anyone who spends time alone.

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June/July 2014
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