Blog skyhook logo The Importance of Precise Location in Micromobility

Jan 10, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The Importance of Precise Location in Micromobility

Posted by Isolde Decker-Lucke

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Accurate location services are essential for companies building micromobility vehicles - even past the location itself. 
The transportation industry is changing, and micromobility is making it easier for people to get around - especially in areas with busy traffic and high population numbers. A precise positioning system that can locate vehicles anywhere – indoors, outdoors, in an urban canyon or low detection area like a dense city - provides benefits that will affect company growth, long-term success, vehicle lifetime, and customer insights.

The Issue With Using Traditional GPS Systems for Tracking Micromobility Assets in Cities

When a connected device travels through a dense area, it struggles to maintain a positioning fix if it is only using GPS for location tracking. GNSS systems rely on their ability to receive signals from multiple satellites in order to provide accurate positioning results.  But with tall buildings, dense populations and devices positioned or moved inside, there are a number of factors that can interfere with connection to GPS satellites, resulting in lost locations. 
Accurate location can be achieved by using a hybrid location model, like Skyhook’s Precision Location offering, that utilizes GPS, cell towers, and Wi-Fi networks to ensure that no matter where the micromobility device travels, accurate location results can still be achieved. 

Hybrid Location Benefits

The benefits of accurate location data beyond just getting an accurate latitude and longitude for the device. Location data can also provide valuable insights that can open opportunities for product enhancement, partnership building, and market growth. 

Customer Usage Data 

Location data shows companies how their devices are being used, and where. This information can determine where shared micromobility vehicles are placed, how many are in a given city, and how to structure pricing models. If a high percentage of customers are using micromobility vehicles for distances over three miles in an area with high precipitation, for example, the product design for future models might prioritize functioning well in wet environments and having a longer battery life.  

Site Selection

Micromobility vehicles are solving some of transportation’s issues in cities - such as the first-mile/last-mile problem. Placing these vehicles in neighborhoods just outside of busy cities that struggle with access to public transportation could open new market opportunities. If location data indicates that users are already taking these micromobility vehicles to and from public transportation, it could be an indicator that other sites with similar classifications - low access to public transportation, residents work in a city, etc. - are strong contenders for new vehicle placement. 

Partnership Opportunities

Seeing where and when customers are using micromobility devices can inform partnerships, drop points, and establish potential agreements with city governments. By understanding how vehicles are used within a city, companies can understand if their customers are frequenting the same area of town repeatedly and explore partnerships with local businesses to drive traffic to their storefront through in-app advertisements and discounts. A partnership with the tourism board can drive usage of shared scooters, and provide insights into which locations tourists visit on scooters versus other modes of transportation, how long they use them throughout their stay, and if there is a way to increase visits to certain landmarks or locations of interest.  

Track and Protect Micromobility Vehicles

A hybrid positioning system that uses Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell towers to locate devices enables accurate location monitoring in any signal environment. With this precise location ability, using multiple sources, micromobility companies can trigger actions promptly when a vehicle exits a certain geofenced area, has a low battery, or is not properly secured. Companies can also automatically change scooter speed maximums based on neighborhood or city.  

Avoid the Missing Shared Vehicle Problem 

Micromobility vehicles are expensive to build – and if a vehicle loses GPS when it goes through a tunnel or under a bridge, the company no longer has visibility into where the vehicle is unless it is using a hybrid positioning system. Abandoned scooters in cities has been a problem since they were created. Early scooter models struggled with battery life and were often left abandoned in the streets. Having accurate location positioning services helps companies find these lost and abandoned scooters, and remove some of these issues like low battery or maintenance. 


Skyhook’s Solution for Micromobility Vehicles:  Precision Location

Keeping track of these micromobility vehicles in dense environments, like a city, is difficult. To ensure accurate location positioning in any environment, and to learn more about usage and customers, micromobility companies should be using a hybrid positioning system. Skyhook’s solution provides the ability to locate devices when in tunnels, dense urban environments, and indoors, areas where GPS tends to fail, in an extremely power efficient manner - offering integration options suitable for the entire spectrum of connected devices. This system enables Skyhook to provide the most accurate and precise location available, in any given signal environment.
By investing in incredibly precise and accurate location positioning, companies are not only able to find, protect, and service vehicles, they also are able to better understand where their customers are going, and gain valuable insights about usage and opportunities.
Find out how Skyhook’s Precision Location hybrid positioning system locates devices using Wi-Fi, GNSS and Cell signals, ensuring that all devices can be located in all environments. 
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