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Nov 10, 2021 11:48:47 AM

Why Companies Should Use a Professionally-Built Hybrid Positioning Solution

Posted by Oleg Kamenetsky

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If you’re a company that creates or supports devices, components, and platforms throughout IoT, chances are you’ve heard about or used hybrid positioning. In essence, this technology uses multiple signal types, such as Wi-Fi and Cellular, GNSS, and sensors to position connected devices throughout different environments. But simply using multiple signal types simultaneously does not constitute a true hybrid solution.

GNSS Isn't Always the Best Choice

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, accurate and precise location will vary greatly depending on the environment devices operate in and the signal types available. While GNSS may be a perfectly good approach to resolve location in real-time for a delivery truck traveling in an open-air environment, that same signal type has consistently proven to be unreliable any time an unobstructed line of sight does not exist between a device and at four GNSS satellites in the sky. This is especially true indoors, underground, in downtown areas, and within tunnels. Not to mention, GNSS-only solutions are battery-intensive and provide always-on location which is not always necessary for a particular use case.
Let’s take this same example of a truck delivering goods and assume that the logistics company responsible for managing the location of this truck, along with the rest of a fleet, realizes that the pitfalls of GNSS are too cumbersome to reliably locate its trucks. The fleet operator will likely look at using other complimentary signal types, such as Wi-Fi and cellular, to resolve location on the truck’s journey, and decides to implement an in-house hybrid solution. Unfortunately, without back-end logic and algorithms to manage which signal type should be used at a given moment, the operator does not enable the most accurate and precise location possible.

What a True Hybrid Positioning Solution Offers

This is a situation that we see often at Skyhook, when customers approach us to design (or re-design) their hybrid solution. As a pioneer in Wi-Fi and mobile device location, we bring decades of experience to customers and a portfolio of patented algorithms that add intelligence, accuracy, and reliability to hybrid positioning solutions. Key advantages of trusting a company dedicated specifically to hybrid positioning include:
  • A global network of reliable and constantly-filtered access points to ensure the highest quality of location accuracy and precision.
  • Seamless location for any device in any environment around the world, even while roaming outside a home network coverage area.
  • High-quality results that can also integrate BLE signals and work with existing infrastructure.
  • Fusion of various signals to corroborate each other or filter out false and noisy measurements.
  • Lightweight protocols that achieve reduced power consumption for stationary devices, and cache matching to minimize network traffic while improving performance.
  • Small, bandwidth-conscious algorithms that dynamically understand the best access points or cellular IDs to use as devices move.
  • Ability to tune integrations and cache matching settings to achieve the desired level of accuracy while optimizing battery life and minimizing the physical device storage space required.
  • Access point filtering to help ensure only reliable sources are used to resolve location.
  • Intelligently filters, clusters, weights, and positions devices through ingesting billions of data points and resolving location based on the highest confidence factor.

Hybrid Positioning Software From The Industry Pioneers 

These are just a few examples of everything that happens through a proper hybrid positioning approach. At Skyhook, this results in over 15 billion access point observations per day, nearly 2 billion cellular observations per day, with the locations of each being re-computed weekly to deliver the best location results.
If you’d like to speak with one of our location experts about improving your existing hybrid positioning solution or designing a new one, please get in touch with us below!
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