The tracking of people through their mobile phones is set to increase as concerns over personal security outweigh reservations over privacy, according to a new study by Juniper Research.
The report on tracking and navigation estimates that revenues from wireless tracking services, both of vehicles and people, in western Europe are expected to reach nearly €3.3bn by 2012, driven by the need to improve business efficiency and concerns over personal safety.
The business sector provides the largest opportunity for tracking applications, but applications also exist in the consumer sector, for use in tracking children, pets or elderly relatives, the analyst firm notes.
As the controlled use of personal location information becomes more accepted, the tracking of staff, particularly vulnerable workers, will be a strong initial driver in the business sector.
Similarly personal security applications in the private sector, such as child tracking, are also gaining acceptance and are set to continue to see growing acceptance and adoption.
By 2012, Juniper Research estimates that there will be more phones tracked on a regular basis in western Europe than vehicles, with nearly 21 million phones being tracked.
However, the frequency of tracking will be far lower than in the vehicle sector, with many implementations only reporting when the subject strays from a geo-fenced area.
This means that annual service revenues generated will be much lower than in the active vehicle tracking sector at just under €500m by 2012.
The report predicts that wireless connected vehicle tracking solutions will be regularly tracking over 15 million vehicles in western Europe by 2012 and generating annual revenues approaching €2.8bn as a wide range of businesses adopt tracking solutions to monitor, schedule and route their vehicle fleets more effectively.
"Vehicle tracking solutions have been around for many years, providing real business benefits in the transport and distribution industries," said Bruce Gibson, the report's author.
Gibson predicts that this will spread to other industries thanks to lower costs and a better understanding of the potential business benefits of wireless tracking.
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