Friday, April 15, 2005

[Tech] [Ubicomp] Business 2.0: Finding Profits in the GPS Economy

http://www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/0,17863,1039514,00.html


Tractors that steer themselves. Property that "knows" it's been stolen. Airplanes that land without a pilot. The opportunities surrounding the global positioning system are already mind-boggling, but now the industry is set to skyrocket. This spring the U.S. government will launch its first next-generation GPS satellite -- to complement the 30 older models already in service -- creating stronger signals, increased bandwidth, and lots of potential for smart entrepreneurs.

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The most visible GPS applications tend to radiate from huge companies. UPS, for one, plans to outfit 75,000 drivers with GPS-enabled handhelds this year to help them reach destinations more efficiently. But startups offering similar navigation and tracking services could also make out nicely. Consider AtRoad, a Fremont, Calif., firm that went public in 2000. It offers "geo-fencing" software that triggers e-mail alerts if a company vehicle speeds or ventures into unauthorized areas.

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Meanwhile, Zingo in the United Kingdom uses GPS-enabled cars and text messaging to help subscribers hail cabs.

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