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Geospatial coming into mainstream – Geospatial World

Geert De Coensel, Founder & CEO, Merkator

The global economic recovery will start in 2021. The ongoing vaccination drive will bring in the next phase of growth that is unstoppable. We already see companies preparing for the summer to be back in business. Throughout last year, governments continued to make investments in IT and other infrastructure, which is a good sign. For us, governments and utilities, especially telcos and smart grids, are among the key areas of focus. The need for energy will only increase, and there will be heightened demand for high bandwidth IP-connectivity, especially since remote working has become the ‘new normal’. There will also be a strong push for Fiber-to-the-Home across Europe. In Belgium, for example, the target is to cover 80% of the homes well before the end of this decade. We also have solutions that are important for organizing public events. By the second half of this year, people will want to come out and live the way they did before the pandemic.

Growing geospatial awareness

Traditionally, geospatial solutions have been reserved for the engineers, and have been seen as the difficult part of IT. But these solutions, and the industry, have been there for several decades — much before they were made popular by big companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. Thanks to these players, geospatial awareness has grown tremendously in the last few years, and people have now started to understand the concept of a map and a location. I will not say that these solutions have become mainstream, but they surely are being viewed as a convenient way to address complex questions. Geospatial is increasingly coming into the mainstream.

Providing data access

Going forward, governments will have a very important role to play in making data accessible for innovation. The entire concept of ‘open data’ is often linked to geospatial data, because the former has the ‘where’ element. So, if geospatial data is provided as open data, it can have a great impact and make a lot of difference.

As far as the geospatial industry is concerned, both hardware and software segments will do well in the near future. For instance, the latest iPhone 12 Pro offers a LiDAR scanner. Now, a lot of people may not know what a LiDAR is, but since it’s part of a small consumer device, there will be curiosity and the demand for new use cases. So, brands like Trimble and Hexagon can in fact look at partnering with companies like Apple and Google to consumerize their hardware.

Ensuring synchronization

The Digital Twin market is going to flourish, as it supports all forms of asset mapping. For a Digital Twin to be of significance, there has to be data collection and a seamless and continuous flow of information from the physical to the digital model. There have to be mechanisms to support this synchronization. At Merkator, we have the capabilites to help the smart grid and telco space to fetch all the information from all the devices and push it into a digital model.

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