Location features on computer chips can be a differentiator in the purchasing process for customers. Pre-integrated or pre-certified location software can add immediate value at the manufacturing stage, either as part of a system-on-a-chip (SOC) solution or otherwise.
Benefits of Location on a Chip
Integrating location software directly onto chipsets helps Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) build devices that are ready to use on networks around the world. This makes the chip more valuable and attractive, removes the need to look for a location provider later in the device creation and optimization process, and saves valuable product development time stemming from integrating validating a location solution.
Location software on a chip provides direct benefits to both the product and the end user. Location providers, like Skyhook, ensure that the chip (and subsequently the device it powers) can be positioned in a variety of environments.
The semiconductor industry is very involved in a wide range of devices, and while not always visible to the consumer, they are essential to technology. From laptop tracking for remote workers, to mobile phone locating features, to connected devices that must function in extreme weather, accurate location details on devices that use chips are important. Adding location to a chip can improve overall functionality and make production move faster.
Chip Shortage Worldwide Increases Importance of Differentiators in Chips
The world is currently facing a shortage of computer chips, situating chip manufacturers in a unique position in which there is pent up demand for chips, but hurdles to overcome related to the shortage itself and the need for increased production. This spotlight on the chip industry positions the addition of location to computer chips as a potential differentiator between competitors. Connected devices are increasingly expected to have location as a capability and building location into a chip can be a decision maker for potential businesses looking for a chip that is ready to be used in their products - especially those businesses whose products have been delayed by COVID shutting down production. A chip that is ready to go and saves the step of finding and integrating a location provider can get their products into the market faster.
High demand for these integrated circuits is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and various factors throughout 2020. Stay-at-home orders led to the highest global PC market growth in a decade as work, school, and entertainment all moved into the home, and semiconductor factories cut back employees in the factory, overall decreasing production. Texas faced unprecedented cold temperatures and weather, leading to largest forced blackout in U.S. history, which resulted in many Texas based chipmakers such as Samsung, NXP and Infineon to close down their factories. Automakers cut down car production in misplaced anticipation of a dip in car sales, leading to a rush in production at the tail-end of 2020. These, in addition to some other factors, led to the current state of the world where there is a chip shortage and factories are seeing large hiring pushes to increase production.
Chip Market and System on a Chip
The IoT chip market is expected to see continued growth, with the expectation that many products will have IoT features implemented with a single system on a chip (SoC). This SoC approach allows IoT devices to operate with efficient battery and increased security as it packs processors (MCU), RF transceivers, memory, power management, connectivity, and sensors in a single unit. As SoC grows, the integration of location software at the chip level is increasingly relevant.
Skyhook’s Hybrid Positioning Technology uses Wi-Fi, GPS, and Cell signals or any combination of these to accurately position phones in any environment, including indoors and when devices are offline, and Emergency Positioning Services for mobile devices.
Skyhook’s solution offers multiple flexible integration options that include an SDK, embedded client, SIM, APIs, as well as custom integration capabilities. This solution is perfect for devices running non-traditional operating systems such as AOSP and KaiOS in need of an independent location provider, as well as any IoT device or module.
The Skyhook Difference
Skyhook has a wealth of differentiators, making it the best option for adding location to a chip. These include:
- Close collaboration with leading chipmakers like Qualcomm (https://www.skyhook.com/blog/skyhook-announces-collaboration-with-qualcomm), to cooperatively test and verify location functionality with pre-certified hardware solutions .
- Premium functionality, accuracy, and value from the leading independent location provider at a fraction of the price compared to other providers, which often require buy-in to a larger suite of services.
- Personalized service with a dedicated customer success and sales engineering team to onboard, troubleshoot, and support.
- Compatibility with devices that use a variety of network protocols for a broad range of possible applications and use cases.
- Proprietary algorithms that preserve device power through minimal battery use.
- Optimization for SoC use cases to provide a high level of integration and allow devices to operate with power-efficiency for use across multiple use cases, network connectivity types, and sensor types.
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