The Impact of Navigational Technology on Business and the Human Way of Life

Posted by in Business & Entrepreneurship, Science & Technology, Social & Psychology

The applications of navigational technologies are rapidly increasing across all sectors. It directly influences our daily life and economic growth in multiple ways. It has truly transformed our living style, and with ongoing innovations in navigational technology, it will keep improving our living standards and business operations. It increases productivity, reduces and avoids costs; saves time; enables improved and new production processes, products and markets, increase health and well-being, reduce injury and loss of life, improve the environment, and increase security. Many of its benefits in our daily life are beyond monetary values, but its benefits to society from an economic point of view are also substantial. The economic benefits have grown because this technology is integrated with many different applications from different sectors.

Integration of digital technologies in everyday life and later with Location-based services’ popularity, navigational technology is getting ubiquitous. From driverless cars to robots, all these future technologies can’t work without proper navigational technologies. For years, people have been using satellite navigation on both their smartphones and cars daily, and it’s a part of human life now. The navigational services provide us not only the route information but also the traffic information, shortest and fastest paths, according to our personal preferences. The overall impact of navigational technologies on our daily life and business cannot be underestimated. The integration of navigational technologies with different technologies can highly optimize their performances.

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In the near future, autonomous vehicles, robots, and drones will transform our life and business. These autonomous operations will open doors to many new opportunities. Outdoor and indoor navigational technologies will also bring numerous benefits to the business. Each connected device and its travel history can be used for proximity marketing and surveys. The record of connected devices and travel history can also be used for security and crime investigations. Navigational technology also has a significant impact on traffic safety. It will reduce the load from the traffic authorities because of automated satellite navigation systems.

Accurate navigational technologies can reduce the complexity of rescue operations in remote areas, as it can be a complicated task because of the terrains and environmental conditions. Monitoring of remote areas is connected to a wide range of applications and services; satellite navigation can make monitoring meaningful and insightful. In wireless sensor systems, sensors’ location information is of great importance; manual tasks can be automated because of these navigational services. The positioning information can help to identify the event that occurred, and in a timely response can be generated. I would discuss the impact of navigational technologies in some industries and services in detail.

A few have been presented here with their economic benefits and impact on society from a range of key industries that benefit from navigational technologies.

Navigational Technology Supporting Emergency Response

Natural disasters affecting large or remote areas need preventive measures to be performed; navigational technologies contribute significantly to mitigation measures. Global navigation satellite systems can accurately transmit the real-time locations of the sites where help is required. All disasters need precise location information to perform rescue operations, and preventive measures can be performed well by having location information. In emergency scenarios, when a call is made for help, the global navigation system can locate the person, and his geographical information can be utilized for rescue services.

Critical incidents require the coordination of numerous emergency response resources over large distances and substantial lengths of time. It is necessary to keep documentation that will assist with incident management and provide a record for subsequent debriefing, training, and court purposes. Time-critical positioning and navigational applications for critical incident management represent an effective way to manage and document incidents.

Agriculture Applications and Precision Agriculture

The agricultural sector also benefits from navigational technologies to improve agricultural mechanisms and efficiency. It leads to more production of food, less usage of resources, and labor. Precision agriculture uses the precise location information provided by global navigational systems to conduct site-specific management. It helps farmers to observe, measure, and respond more efficiently and manage their activities accordingly. The continuous usage of navigational and positional technologies in the agriculture sector will bring more innovations in this industry and significantly impact crop production and management.

Using Navigational Technology for Surveying

The surveying industry continuously uses positioning and navigational technologies in their operations, as precise location information improves the surveying tasks’ productivity. Surveying applications are critical to many economically important sectors like construction, mining, infrastructure planning, etc. The location and navigation information can benefit in applications of the mentioned sectors and will have an enormous impact on the future. Navigational technologies with great accuracy will be essential in urban canyons, dense forests, and other similar locations. Future surveying will also involve unmanned vehicles, and their connection with the global navigational system or a local navigation system is mandatory. Briefly, the surveying sector will constantly keep using navigational technology, and its usage will keep increasing with time.

Healthcare and Navigational Technology

The healthcare market is evolving rapidly, and it creates new challenges for professionals working in his industry. Patients are now similar to clients, and hospitals need to provide services that can promote repeat business. Navigational technology can help this sector in many ways and in different applications. Guiding ambulances to transport patients on the road or helicopters in poor weather conditions.

Navigating patients and visitors in hospital buildings and tracking different medical equipment in buildings, all these applications are extremely beneficial in the healthcare system. It can help the employees of hospitals and in maintenance by marking the location digitally on maps, and the professionals will be notified about the location of the fault and device to be repaired. It can help save many lives, which are beyond any monetary benefits.

Smart Waste Management Systems

Navigational technologies can also be integrated with industries like waste management. Any industry involving vehicles on the road can directly benefit from navigational technologies. The waste management companies can use this technology for route optimization and know the exact locations of garbage containers.

Picking up garbage containers on time and daily needs such technology to maximize its efficiency. It also helps in cost-saving and time-saving. Businesses can benefit by saving their operational costs. Companies have adopted this technology with remote sensing systems and waste management.

Aviation Industry Benefits from Navigational Technology

The global navigation system benefits the aviation industry by providing the best routes to the aircraft from departure to destination leading to less fuel consumption. It helps to navigate through complicated terrains and also provides constant monitoring and alerting whenever there is something that the pilot needs to be worried about. 

The eco-routing in navigation systems selects the shortest and fastest route, which provides the greenest or the most fuel-efficient route. It will also reduce noise pollution and carbon emission to reduce air pollution. Especially during flight landing, providing the optimized landing trajectory is another benefit of navigating technologies in aviation.

Role of Navigational Technologies in Crime Investigation and Safety

Navigational technologies have improved the operational management and planning of law enforcement agencies. Modern law enforcement agencies require such technological advancements to combat crime and implement public safety operations. Positional and navigational technology helps in monitoring, data gathering, path planning, and tracking. This technology changes the working of police in so many ways and makes it more productive and efficient.

Modern problems require modern solutions, and modern navigational technologies in police departments will help solve the many challenges. Police departments to facilitate them in their operations also use robots and drones. These smart devices enabled with positioning and navigational technology can prove beneficial for crime scene investigations and hard to reach areas. These technologies help determine the exact location of the crime scene and decide the time and speed required to reach the place. While responding to calls, these navigational and positional services can estimate the caller’s location and save much work for the officers.

Here an overview of navigational technologies’ impact on three sectors is provided through the recent literature. These three sectors prove to be more beneficial and also have more economic benefits. There is a higher potential for business in these sectors and requires more research.

Tracking and Asset Protection – Real-time Locating Systems

Tracking logistics or the devices we use daily can significantly benefit from positioning and navigational technology. This tracking can be used for the safety of goods and other courier materials. If something goes missing in the shipment, a small sensor can help the owners about its location and notify the responsible agency to take the required action. The real-time location of the objects by connecting the navigation-enabled device is the most reliable source for monitoring. It will ensure maximum safety, prevent loss and theft of goods, and enhance efficiency in logistics. This regular tracking enables transport hubs to monitor the progress of journeys and offer real-time route updates. The tracking is also used to monitor children or the elderly’s activities by installing a GPS enabled smart device or phone. Keeping track of your children or elders is very important as they are more vulnerable.

This technology can also be beneficial for farming and maintaining records of animals. Wild animals can also be tracked, services to manage and evaluate the data can benefit society. Navigational services are also used to track and inventory assets ranging from heavy machinery on farms and construction and mining sites to pipes and other materials, containers in trucking sites and ports, and the location of utilities in the ground. In logistics, it facilitates the planning of product flow and transport. The growth of same-day delivery takes advantage of the Internet, cell phone, location, and navigation technologies enabled by GPS. It is a continuation of the growth in just-in-time delivery that has been a phenomenon in manufacturing for several decades. Now it is having a profound effect on wholesale trade, retail trade, and transportation.

Challenges and Opportunities

Various companies are investing in this technology to meet the increasing demand for secure and fast delivery. By just integrating the navigational technology, enabled devices can improve the efficiency of the process. Blockchain technology, when integrated here, can further enhance the tracking process of goods and logistics. Blockchain technology is a decentralized architecture that uses sequential, encrypted, and chained blocks to store synchronized and validated data across peer-to-peer networks. In Blockchain architecture, all the client nodes are connected with peer-to-peer networks. Once data is sent, it is received and encrypted using various hashing techniques and is broadcast. Only the legitimate person will receive the broadcast transaction, and this is only possible due to Blockchain-enabled IoT sensors. In logistics, Blockchain technology not only maintains the integrity of transported products, but it keeps a complete record of the overall shipping process. Combining Blockchain with IoT provides various incentives for transportation and logistics. These include reduced cost, fast transactions, and trustworthiness. Similarly, effective integration of IoT and Blockchain ensures the safe delivery of perishable goods by taking care of the temperature during the overall transportation process.

Some of the key benefits of integrating Blockchain include freight tracking (which means the sender can track their shipment status). Another benefit can be temperature control (maintaining the desired temperature when transferring perishable goods over long distances is necessary), carrier authentication (only the legitimate carrier will be authorized), fast delivery through continuous monitoring and readjustment of routes, delivery receipts, and payments and vehicle authentication.

One successful implementation of IoT and Blockchain integration was recently achieved by the Saudi customs department when they successfully boarded a shipment from Dammam port to Rotterdam. All the data and documents related to shipment were handled by all the concerned parties using a single window, and the shipment reached its destination in a timely fashion. The Saudi customs department works to use IoT with Blockchain to make its logistics more efficient and transparent. During the entire shipment process, all the transaction details were accessible to the concerned parties. The shipment was monitored using their personalized platform for all the document milestones and shipment events. Using IoT and Blockchain technology, data were analyzed by both the import and export authorities, including the cargo owners. Integration of IoT with Blockchain technologies can improve logistics by providing the relevant information to all players throughout the supply chain, ensuring efficient and cost-effective transportation, simplifying, stabilizing, and readjusting the supply chain, and finally, improving distribution and delivery through unbroken consignments.

Another critical aspect that needs to be taken care of is the communication link. The target velocity and direction is an issue in network communication. When the object’s velocity or direction keeps changing from time to time, it affects network communication. Therefore, there is a need to have a network protocol or algorithm that can adapt to the changes in the network structure to mitigate the number of communication failures.

Intelligent Transportation Systems – Increasing Transportation Efficiency

The transportation industry creates millions of jobs worldwide and contributes to the economic growth of the countries. The ground transportation systems, including cars, busses, bikes, metros, rails, etc., need to be efficient and safe. The development of an intelligent transportation system focuses on increasing safety and mobility and decreasing congestion. Navigation and mapping technology optimizes the route selection for users. In today’s world, cities are extremely crowded and face huge traffic-related problems daily. Navigational technologies can solve problems and lower traffic congestion, accidents, and other transport-related problems. In transportation, sector navigational technology can help optimize the routes according to personal preferences, like speed, time, safety, etc.

The positioning and navigational technologies are the backbones of future driverless cars and robots. Self-driving cars and delivery robots can’t operate without this technology. Not only unmanned vehicles but the whole transport network is an important sector where navigational services are of great use. The usage of public busses, taxis, or bicycles all will benefit from it. Location information improves the overall user experience by providing a better and fast service. People using public transport keep track of the busses schedule and its real-time location. Instead of waiting at bus stops for an uncertain time, people now save this time by knowing the bus’s location and route on their smartphones or computers in advance. People manage their time more efficiently just by enabling public transport with satellite navigation. 

In taxi services, these localization and navigation services have significantly transformed the user experience. It benefits not only the passengers but also the drivers. The real-time location of users and drivers using satellite navigation guides them to the meeting points and then to the destination. Another modern technology of drones also uses navigational technology to avoid collisions and following a correct path to reach its destination. The precise location of delivery and its positioning information require navigational technology.

Challenges and Opportunities

Technological developments, such as autonomous and smart ships, are also becoming a reality now. Smart shipping and autonomous vessels require new updated regulations and rules, new organizational methods, changes in business practices, changes in management strategy, customization, regular and cyclical changes, merger acquisition.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles has recently opened up new opportunities for various Intelligent Transportation Systems applications such as an automatic collection of traffic data. In this regard, it is crucial for many applications to detect vehicles and accurately extract traffic patterns. Unlike most of the conventional traffic monitoring devices which show traffic conditions at fixed positions, some UAVs can cover a traffic network or a continuous part of a road instead, so it requires fewer units to control a single section of a road. Moreover, as an infrastructure with high mobility, UAVs can provide quick evaluation and identification of accident locations where a number of static sensors are located for emergency purposes. In addition, UAVs have lower operating costs compared to manned aircraft, and can fly near to the ground, and, therefore, can respond better in bad weather. Therefore, UAVs need to be provided with accurate navigational information.

New-generation navigation systems can allow users to plan a route at home and send it to the car, to see photographs and recommendations about nearby places, and to take advantage of real-time information to obtain optimal routes. Real-time information about fuel prices (i.e., spotting the cheapest gas station in the surroundings) and maps of the available parking spots can be provided as well.

Some research challenges that are connected to intelligent transportation systems are:

  • risk analysis and management: used to identify and manage the assets, threats, and potential attacks,
  • data-centric trust and verification,
  • anonymity, privacy, and liability,
  • secure localization,
  • delay constraints,
  • prioritization of data packets and congestion control.

Due to the wireless nature of the network, a route may suddenly break. Therefore, it is essential to provide as much reliable as possible transport service on top of the inherently unreliable network. Designing cross-layer protocols, which span between transport and routing layers, can support real-time applications.

Another challenge in intelligent transportation systems that are connected with navigational technology is GPS Jamming and GPS Spoofing. The former involves an attacker interfering with the GPS bands, while the latter is more complicated in the sense that GPS spoofing involves modifying position, velocity, and time values. Spoofing techniques include pseudo-random noise (PRN) code phase and carrier phase adjustment to match the phases on the target’s signals. Jamming and spoofing are increasing every day, making it more complicated or even impossible to protect the signals fully. Effective countermeasures include Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) or spatial processing methods; although, the usage of an antenna array results in increased complexity.

The L-band was mainly taken for satellite navigation systems, but now the frequencies are all heavily occupied. It is a serious question for all satellite navigation system providers how any future evolution on signals may be realized. The S-band is already crowded, and using the C-band (investigated already by the U. S. in the 1960s when developing GPS) has more severe drawbacks (more required signal power on the satellite and active antennae, the influence of rain and snow, larger antennae and higher costs for a receiver) than appreciating the value of a possible increase of accuracy due to smaller wavelengths. The agencies interested in this sector must be ready to tackle any problem in the coming years during satellite navigation systems’ evolution.

Location-based Services Transforming Daily Lives and Business

The inclusion of GPS chips in mobile phones and other smart devices has generated new applications based on user’s and devices’ location information. Many such location-based services help users navigate, learn about their nearby activities, track location in real-time, and enjoy a wide range of services that use user’s geographical positions. Location-based services provide users with useful information about their neighborhood and also provide real-time alerts in different situations. It enhances activities like social networking, local search, advertising, and many more.

This technology focuses on localization with the help of wireless technology. Real-Time Localization Services are solutions to monitor entities within a defined landscape continuously. There exist different technology groups that are used in these systems. Radio Frequency (RF), acoustic solution, and visible light solutions. RF solutions are in focus due to the highly dynamic and harsh environment in industrial manufacturing. RF systems use WIFI, RFID, UWB, 5G, GPS, and BLE technologies depending on the use case. Location-based services are now included in the daily life of millions of humans around the globe and are a valuable part of our daily routine activities. Locating a lost object at home or office, checking traffic routines, looking for a restaurant in your surroundings, or making a reminder related to your geographical position are among a few of its applications. In the future, location-based services will grow even more, especially with the Internet of Things. Managing home automation and devices, managing other physical objects according to their location data will grow every coming year. It will continue transforming our lives and, with its linkage to a huge number of applications, will surely make an impact on the economy.

Challenges and Opportunities

Rapid advances in positioning, modeling, and communication triggered many innovative LBS applications in various domains such as navigation and wayfinding, tourism, social networks, entertainment, healthcare, and transportation. To ensure that a developed LBS application meets a user’s needs, evaluating such services regarding usability and usefulness is essential. Analysis of LBS-generated data: LBS applications not only help facilitate people’s daily activities and decision-making in space but also generate a lot of data about how people use, travel, and interact with each other in the environment. Therefore, a branch of research within the scientific field of LBS focuses on analyzing these data, especially location-based tracking data, social media data, and crowdsourced geographic information, on better understanding people’s behavior in different environments. Mining these (large) spatial data potentially enables various innovative applications in domains like transport, urban planning, smart cities, and social sciences, as well as provides insight to improve further the LBS applications that generate these data.

LBS are becoming more and more ubiquitous in many aspects of daily life and attract significant research interest from various scientific disciplines. With the continuous evolution of communication technologies and mobile devices that underpin and support the services, rapid advances in LBS were observed in the past few years.

The future benefits are expected to be much more because of the continuous evolution of technologies and the expansion of businesses. Numerous applications are emerging that use navigational technologies and are making our lives easier. Technologies like mobile phones, computers, tablets, wearable devices, home appliances, vehicles, drones, robots, airplanes, rockets, and spaceships for all the navigational and positioning services are essential. This wide range of applications requires the availability of an accurate navigational system. It is a complete platform for innovation, and with the support of government and private enterprises, it will revolutionize the world. Applications like agriculture, logistics, routes optimization, high-speed wireless services, automation, wearable smart devices, advertising, shopping, and dating will get more importance in the future, and navigational technology will be essentially a part of it. After knowing numerous benefits of this technology in our daily lives and business its time, we explore this area and take as much benefit possible for our businesses and save money.

Despite the rapid advances in LBS research, many scientific challenges still exist, covering various aspects of the scientific field such as positioning, modeling, communication, applications, evaluation, analysis of LBS data, and privacy and ethical issues of LBS. For example, providing reliable, ubiquitous positioning that works anytime and anywhere remains challenging. Modeling users and their contexts to provide personalized and contextual services still need extensive research efforts. The issue regarding the accommodation of LBS users’ privacy concerns continues to be a primary challenge for LBS. Meanwhile, as LBS enters into many aspects of our daily life, this also brings forth new issues concerning LBS’s social, ethical, legal, and behavioral implications.

Concluding Remarks

Navigational technology has many opportunities for enhancing our quality of life, like health care, disaster management, security and safety, intelligent traffic management, efficient navigation, and countless smart city applications. Future benefits are expected to be even greater because of the evolution of technologies, expansion of GNSS systems, creation of new products and markets. The possibilities are suggested by the numerous nascent applications that have been emerging.

The platforms’ progression is long and growing: mainframes, PCs, mobile phones and other handheld devices, tablets, game controllers, wearables, TVs, home appliances, air and space, including planes, UAVs, satellites, planets, moons, rovers, rockets, and spaceships. The widespread availability of platforms and the growing ability to utilize them promise a long way to go in developing applications and deriving benefits. The benefits of many new and rapidly growing services are yet to be quantified. Systematic research is needed to fill in gaps, require significant and multi-year efforts.

Navigational technology is not just a service; it is a platform for innovation. With the support of federal agencies, private enterprise navigational technologies can have a large number of new applications in all the sectors mentioned above. In today’s world, the impact of navigational services is as near as smartphones. Maps and navigation tools, social networking, shopping, dating, and relationships all include location services. It is a link between innovation within the national lab system, technology transfer to the private sector, and the tools of their everyday lives.