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iBeacons are fast becoming the foot soldiers of indoor location in retail, bringing awareness and adoption, but it is just one of over 10 indoor location technologies competing in this $5 billion space. A host of new, higher-accuracy, "infrastructure-free" technologies are forecast to change the face of and use case for indoor location in the future," according to ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com).
"We see huge growth for infrastructure-based technologies like Wi-Fi and iBeacons, with BLE deployments forecast to break 20,000 by 2015, largely focused on retail. But the arrival of high-accuracy handset-based technologies like sensor fusion, LED, magnetic field and a host of others, will also enable a whole new set of consumer applications and services around ambient intelligence, social networking, corporate/enterprise, fitness/health, mobile advertising, and gaming," says senior analyst Patrick Connolly. "With over 800 million smartphones actively using indoor location for applications by 2018, it will be as standard as GPS is today."
ABI Research Practice Director Dominique Bonte adds: "iBeacons and BLE location make indoor easy and cheap, but that also opens the door to a host of new competitors. Those at the forefront are already aggressively pursuing new, sub-meter handset-based technologies. This will give the edge in both the retail and consumer spaces."