Next-Gen GPS and the Impacts on IoT: Zephr Raises $3.5M to Address Critical Challenges


Here’s a bite-sized Q&A to kick this off.

Q: Why is GPS important for the Internet of Things?

A: The ability to consistently provide accurate location information is crucial to a great many things in IoT. By incorporating GPS technology, IoT sensors and devices (i.e. that are already gathering data from application-specific sources) can then successfully determine precise geographic coordinates for the real-time tracking and monitoring of workers, vehicles, assets, etc. This geolocation data is a boon; it allows operators to keep a digital eye, so to speak, on everything from personal safety to logistics, asset tracking, fleet management and so on. It impacts resource allocation and optimization, workplace efficiency and – to make a long story short – smarter overall IoT decision-making.

So, as the modernization of GPS continues, experts in IoT look to maintain GPS’ core functionality while simultaneously enhancing its accuracy and compatibility with new technologies, rather than making drastic changes to the system itself.

(Yes, that’s pretty much as bite-sized as this topic gets.)

Enter Zephr, a developer of next-gen GPS solutions. As Zephr’s technology continues to be extensively tested, its mission becomes clearer and clearer: Make GPS more accurate and reliable. Through interconnected GNSS measurements across multiple devices, Zephr’s GPS networked system reduces common inaccuracies while securing a highly stable, reliable signal that is at less risk of interference. This has the potential to considerably boost industry opportunities in navigation, delivery, agriculture, advertising, robotics, smart city projects and more.

Moreover, Zephr recently announced a $3.5 million seed round – led by Space Capital and First Spark Ventures – as Zephr launches additional networked GPS solutions, strengthening GPS’ reliability and compatibility previously discussed.

Already, Zephr uses a computationally networked solution to significantly enhance GPS accuracy, particularly for mobile devices. The company aims to consistently achieve, as the official announcement detailed, “a remarkable average accuracy of sub-60cm for mobile devices, which is not typically seen in consumer GPS/survey-grade GPS solutions.”

In summary, Zephr’s big-time GPS augmentation and support can be delivered without the need for device hardware changes; it’s purely software-based, rather than chipset or firmware-based. According to Zephr’s CEO Sean Gorman, PhD, this will potentially allow “billions of existing mobile devices to easily upgrade their GPS accuracy, directly out of the box.”

As Gorman put it, “GPS is an essential technology for so many services we now rely on, and yet it is plagued by inaccuracy. This poses many challenges for businesses and consumers, and it will hamper the growth of developing technologies like augmented reality and autonomy. Improved accuracy in GPS can translate into millions of dollars in economic benefit; for us, however, it’s about more than just money. A more accurate GPS system can also improve daily routines and personal safety, from preventing navigational errors to creating safer collision avoidance systems in vehicles and enabling more advanced search-and-rescue efforts.”

Overall, next-gen GPS seems to be critical for the global economy and for new waves of IoT applications. We’re excited to see which directions this endeavor takes next.

Edited by Alex Passett
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