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Testing Location-Aware Devices:New Opportunities for ManufacturersA Spirent eBook for Manufacturers of GPS and multi-GNSS-...
SummaryThe market for location-aware devices is booming, puttingmanufacturers under pressure to produce more devices, fast...
This ebook outlines the current market landscape for GPS and multi-GNSS-enabled devices, reviews some of the pressures and...
Introduction: A Booming MarketThe market for commercial devices with in-built satellite navigationand positioning has come...
The GNSS SkyscapeThe widespread availability of civilian satellite signals is contributingto a booming market for devices ...
And that’s only in one segment of commercial electronics: there’sa huge and varied worldwide market for industry-specific ...
A $3.3 Billion Market by 2016As the popularity of GNSS-enabled devices grows, and the price of anindividual GNSS chipset c...
What Does this Mean for Manufacturers?What does the boom in location-aware applications and devices meanfor manufacturers?...
2.	 More competition: Competition is intensifying as devicemanufacturers move in on each other’s turf. In the automotive s...
4.	 Margin pressure: Sales and marketing costs in a highlycompetitive market are putting pressure on margins for originalm...
5.	 High customer expectations: Manufacturers need to find waysto deliver products faster and more cheaply, but not at the...
The Importance of TestingTesting is an essential part of bringing a successful commercial deviceto market. For GNSS-enable...
Performance issues in the field: Performance issues that are notpicked up during the test regime may only come to light wh...
Available Test MethodsTo date, manufacturers have relied on two commonly-used methods oftesting the GNSS capabilities of c...
Live Sky Testing with Real Satellite SignalsLive sky testing is the most basic way to test GNSS receiverperformance, as it...
Test conditions are uncontrollable: the test engineer has no controlover the live signal environment and so is unable to t...
Only available signals can be used: the live environment providesno opportunity to test a device’s ability to acquire and ...
Parametric Testing with RF SimulationThe limitations of live sky testing mean the vast majority ofcommercial RD labs now u...
Additionally, complex test sequences can be programmed to runovernight, with all results available the following morning f...
However, the power and precision of parametric testing can start towork against the manufacturer’s interest if it’s also u...
New Test Solutions for High-VolumeProduction EnvironmentsGNSS test solution vendors are now offering functional testequipm...
Test More Devices, Faster, With No Loss of AccuracyFunctional GNSS simulators are designed to test the fundamentalcapabili...
Manufacturers who have replaced parametric equipment on theproduction line with functional test equipment report no loss o...
The Business Opportunity for ManufacturersThe availability of functional GNSS simulators designed for productionenvironmen...
Reduce the cost of test equipment: Functional simulators cost lessto acquire, maintain and upgrade – and, being simple to ...
Conclusion: An Opportunityto Re-Assess Test ApproachThere is a major opportunity for manufacturers to re-assess their in-h...
Find out MoreSpirent has been at the forefront of GPS and GNSS testing in the military,government and commercial sectors f...
About SpirentSpirent has been the global leader in GNSS testing for 25 years. Spirent deliversnavigation and positioning t...
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Testing Location-Aware Devices: New Opportunities for Manufacturers

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From smartphones to tablets, adoption of consumer location-aware devices is booming. Learn how new testing methods and tools can benefit the manufacturers working to meet this global demand.

Discover:
- The current state-of-play in the global market for location-aware devices
- The possibilities for manufacturers in the emerging marketplace trends
- Which testing methods can reduce time-to-market and ensure product quality

Published in: Technology
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Testing Location-Aware Devices: New Opportunities for Manufacturers

  1. 1. Testing Location-Aware Devices:New Opportunities for ManufacturersA Spirent eBook for Manufacturers of GPS and multi-GNSS-enabled devices
  2. 2. SummaryThe market for location-aware devices is booming, puttingmanufacturers under pressure to produce more devices, faster, tomeet global demand. Thorough testing is essential at every stage,but current test methods are slowing down production and eating intoalready-thin profit margins.The emergence of new, production-oriented GNSS test equipmentgives manufacturers a golden opportunity to re-assess the way theyspecify testing throughout the product lifecycle. These units cansignificantly reduce the time and cost of manufacturing test, with noloss of quality or rigour.SPIRENT eBook Page 2
  3. 3. This ebook outlines the current market landscape for GPS and multi-GNSS-enabled devices, reviews some of the pressures and challengesfor manufacturers, and provides an introduction to the new generationof production-oriented GNSS test equipment and the businessopportunities it presents.SPIRENT eBook Page 3
  4. 4. Introduction: A Booming MarketThe market for commercial devices with in-built satellite navigationand positioning has come a long way in a very short time. Theoriginal Global Positioning System (GPS) was declassified for civilianuse in 1996, paving the way for the rapid development of consumerand commercial applications that use global navigation satellitesystems (GNSS) for positioning, navigation and precise timekeeping.Today, two GNSS constellations are in full operation – GPS andRussia’s GLONASS – and another two are destined to be fullyoperational by 2020 – China’s Compass and the European Galileosystem. In addition, countries including Japan and India aredeveloping local satellite and/or ground-based augmentation systemsto improve satellite signal reception in problem areas.SPIRENT eBook Page 4
  5. 5. The GNSS SkyscapeThe widespread availability of civilian satellite signals is contributingto a booming market for devices that offer positioning capabilities.Today, every cellular phone contains a GNSS receiver, and location-aware applications for smartphones, cameras, gaming devices andtablets are proliferating rapidly.SPIRENT eBook Page 5
  6. 6. And that’s only in one segment of commercial electronics: there’sa huge and varied worldwide market for industry-specific andapplication-specific devices, including:• In-vehicle navigation systems for automotive, maritime and aerospace use• Location-aware sports and safety equipment• Positioning systems to guide precision agriculture The growing global market for embedded in-car satnav (source: Strategy Analytics, July 2012)SPIRENT eBook Page 6
  7. 7. A $3.3 Billion Market by 2016As the popularity of GNSS-enabled devices grows, and the price of anindividual GNSS chipset continues to fall, analyst house ABI Researchforecasts that the market for GNSS chips will reach 1.8 billionshipments by 2016, representing a market worth over $3.3 billion atthe end of the period.SPIRENT eBook Page 7
  8. 8. What Does this Mean for Manufacturers?What does the boom in location-aware applications and devices meanfor manufacturers? We’ve identified five trends and opportunities thatare currently transforming the market landscape:1. Bigger opportunities: Demand for location-aware devices ishigh and increasing. Credit Suisse predicts that annual smartphoneshipments will pass the one-billion mark in 2014. The red-hot tabletmarket is growing even faster than predicted, with IDC estimatingshipments will increase from 107.4m in 2012 to 222.1m in 2016.Meanwhile, the combination of satellite positioning withground-based Wi-Fi triangulation is ushering in a boomin indoor navigation applications, which ABIResearch sees as a $5bn market by 2017.SPIRENT eBook Page 8
  9. 9. 2. More competition: Competition is intensifying as devicemanufacturers move in on each other’s turf. In the automotive sector,for example, manufacturers of embedded in-car satnav systems arestarting to face fierce competition from smartphone vendors whoseproducts can double as navigation systems by connecting to an in-cardisplay unit.3. Need for speed: The size of the opportunity and the intensityof the competition mean manufacturers must get new products tomarket as quickly as possible. That means eliminating inefficienciesand accelerating processes at all stages of the value chain, includingRD, GNSS chipset selection and integration, industry certification(where required), production and distribution.SPIRENT eBook Page 9
  10. 10. 4. Margin pressure: Sales and marketing costs in a highlycompetitive market are putting pressure on margins for originalmanufacturers of consumer devices. Contract manufacturers arealso seeing margins severely squeezed as they build out newmanufacturing capabilities to cope with demand. (In 2011, forexample, Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer of Apple’siPhones and iPads, reported profit margins of just 1.5%.)SPIRENT eBook Page 10
  11. 11. 5. High customer expectations: Manufacturers need to find waysto deliver products faster and more cheaply, but not at the expenseof quality or performance. Satellite time, navigation and positioningare used in an increasing array of applications that people rely onfor their safety and wellbeing – to communicate their location in theevent of an accident, or to show a safe route to their destination.People are using location-aware applications to manage many aspectsof their lives, and serious performance issues can lead to masscustomer defections – and worse.SPIRENT eBook Page 11
  12. 12. The Importance of TestingTesting is an essential part of bringing a successful commercial deviceto market. For GNSS-enabled devices, it’s vital that positioning,navigation and timekeeping capabilities are properly tested atevery stage in the product value chain – from RD right throughto production. Failure to test adequately at every stage can createserious problems, including;New product introduction (NPI) delays: Insufficient testing canseverely delay the introduction of a new product. If a designleaves the lab but then fails conformance testing or industrycertification, the process of re-designing and re-submitting it forcertification can delay its introduction by months or even years –by which time it may have been superseded by a competitor.SPIRENT eBook Page 12
  13. 13. Performance issues in the field: Performance issues that are notpicked up during the test regime may only come to light when theproduct is in the hands of the end-customer. In a worst-case scenario,this may put the safety of people, animals or the environment atrisk. It may also cause reputational issues that have a negativecommercial impact. Often, issues that arise in the field are caused byunusual conditions in the real world – such as rare combinations ofinterference, or sudden, extreme changes in temperature – that werenot (for whatever reason) tested in the lab.Any of the above issues can cause serious commercial damage todesigners and manufacturers of GNSS-enabled devices. The cost of“going back to the drawing board” once a product has left the lab canbe astronomical, not just in the amount of resource wasted, but alsoin the lost opportunities that come with being late to market.SPIRENT eBook Page 13
  14. 14. Available Test MethodsTo date, manufacturers have relied on two commonly-used methods oftesting the GNSS capabilities of commercial and consumer devices:1. “Live-sky” testing using the satellite signals available in the real world2. Parametric testing using radio-frequency (RF) simulationSPIRENT eBook Page 14
  15. 15. Live Sky Testing with Real Satellite SignalsLive sky testing is the most basic way to test GNSS receiverperformance, as it relies on no equipment other than an antennamounted on a roof or other location where live satellite signals canreadily be acquired. The device under test (DUT) is connected to theantenna, and the effect of the live satellite signals is observed.Limitations of live sky testingWhile live sky testing is a useful way of verifying device performancein the real world, as a test method it’s fundamentally flawed fora multitude of reasons, including:SPIRENT eBook Page 15
  16. 16. Test conditions are uncontrollable: the test engineer has no controlover the live signal environment and so is unable to test the device’shandling of different scenarios and conditions.Test conditions are unrepeatable: the live environment is constantlychanging, not only in terms of the positions and signal strengths ofthe available satellites, but also in terms of interference and othereffects in play at any given time.SPIRENT eBook Page 16
  17. 17. Only available signals can be used: the live environment providesno opportunity to test a device’s ability to acquire and processsignals from satellites that are not in view at the test location, orwhich have yet to become fully operational. For example, a test labin Germany can’t test a device’s ability to acquire a signal from theJapanese QZSS augmentation system. This is becoming a bigger issueas manufacturers develop devices with multi-GNSS capabilities thatenable them to be used worldwide.SPIRENT eBook Page 17
  18. 18. Parametric Testing with RF SimulationThe limitations of live sky testing mean the vast majority ofcommercial RD labs now use RF simulation to conduct in-depthperformance testing on every new GNSS receiver or device.RF simulation has emerged as the industry-standard method fortesting the satellite signal acquisition and processing capabilitiesof location-aware products. A high-end simulator comes withsophisticated software that enables the test engineer to definespecific conditions and combinations of conditions, and to modifythese to a fine degree of granularity. The same test scenario canbe repeated an infinite number of times, enablingrigorous and accurate parametric testing.SPIRENT eBook Page 18
  19. 19. Additionally, complex test sequences can be programmed to runovernight, with all results available the following morning for detailedanalysis. An RF simulator can usually be integrated into a rack ofautomated test equipment via USB or GPIB, allowing engineers toevaluate the performance of a receiver embedded within any piece oflocation-aware equipment.Limitations of parametric testingParametric testing is an extremely powerful method of conductingprecise, iterative performance tests during RD, conformance testing,chipset vendor selection and receiver integration.SPIRENT eBook Page 19
  20. 20. However, the power and precision of parametric testing can start towork against the manufacturer’s interest if it’s also used as the defaulttest method in the production environment.At the production stage, the primary objective should be to produceas many units as possible in as fast a time as possible, with anydelays to production eating into already-wafer-thin margins.Using parametric testing equipment to conduct essential functionaltesting on the factory floor is like taking a hammer to crack a nut: itworks, but there are quicker and easier ways of doing it that are justas effective.SPIRENT eBook Page 20
  21. 21. New Test Solutions for High-VolumeProduction EnvironmentsGNSS test solution vendors are now offering functional testequipment designed specifically for use in high-volume commercialdevice production environments.Designed to complement the high-end parametric simulators usedduring the RD, certification and integration stages, these production-oriented units enable fundamental tests of GNSS functionality to beconducted rapidly, easily and repeatably on the factory floor.SPIRENT eBook Page 21
  22. 22. Test More Devices, Faster, With No Loss of AccuracyFunctional GNSS simulators are designed to test the fundamentalcapabilities of finished GPS and multi-GNSS devices accurately andrapidly. Typically, they will generate one or more channels of one ormore satellite constellation signals and stimulate the DUT with thesesignals to test its ability to acquire them and – if required – calculatean accurate position.Built-in software provides the test operator with the ability to controlcertain parameters of the test, such as the power level of the deviceor the signal. The simulator can be set to run automatically througha series of tests; for example, generating signals from differentsatellite constellations, and to operate in continuous runmode for fast, accurate volume testing.SPIRENT eBook Page 22
  23. 23. Manufacturers who have replaced parametric equipment on theproduction line with functional test equipment report no loss ofaccuracy in the test results, and manufacturers who have conductedside-by-side testing using both parametric and functional testequipment found exactly the same pass/fail ratios with bothequipment types.SPIRENT eBook Page 23
  24. 24. The Business Opportunity for ManufacturersThe availability of functional GNSS simulators designed for productionenvironments presents a number of commercial opportunities formanufacturers, including:Test more devices, faster: increase production throughput byincreasing the speed of manufacturing test – often shaving minutesoff the testing time for each individual unitAchieve more accurate test results: functional testing with a GNSS ormulti-GNSS simulator produces a far more accurate result than usingunreliable live sky signalsSPIRENT eBook Page 24
  25. 25. Reduce the cost of test equipment: Functional simulators cost lessto acquire, maintain and upgrade – and, being simple to operate,require less training and specialist knowledge than their parametriccounterpartsRedeploy parametric simulators: For manufacturers currently usingparametric test equipment on the factory floor, those units can beredeployed to the RD or conformance testing lab where in-depth,iterative testing is essential to the development of a high-qualityproductSPIRENT eBook Page 25
  26. 26. Conclusion: An Opportunityto Re-Assess Test ApproachThere is a major opportunity for manufacturers to re-assess their in-house test approach to take advantage of the time and cost advantagesof functional GNSS simulators for production test. Manufacturers whocomplement a full, parametric test approach at RD and conformancetesting stages with professional, functional testing at the production stagewill find they can produce more units, faster and at lower cost, with no lossof test rigour or accuracy.
  27. 27. Find out MoreSpirent has been at the forefront of GPS and GNSS testing in the military,government and commercial sectors for over 25 years. To find out moreabout professional, accurate production testing using Spirent simulators,visit our website at www.spirent.com/positioning, or emailgnss@spirent.com.• Visit our Resources page to browse our other eBooks and Application Notes on relevant topics.• Read the Spirent GNSS Blog to keep up with news and insights on the latest GNSS developments.Share this eBook on your favourite social media platform:Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Technorati Google + Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon MCD00198 Issue 1-00
  28. 28. About SpirentSpirent has been the global leader in GNSS testing for 25 years. Spirent deliversnavigation and positioning test equipment and services to governmental agencies,major manufacturers, integrators, test facilities and space agencies worldwide.Spirent Spirent Federal Systems Got a smartphone?+44 1803 546325 +1 714 692 6565 Scan the QRglobalsales@spirent.com info@spirentfederal.com Code for morewww.spirent.com/positioning www.spirentfederal.com information

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