In today’s competitive world of business, staying ahead of the competition requires constant innovation and adoption of new technologies. One such technological innovation that has significantly impacted businesses in Ghana is the use of Positioning and Navigation Systems. These systems can provide a competitive edge and open up new opportunities for businesses to thrive.
Positioning systems can be broadly categorised as outdoor and indoor depending on their components and use cases. Outdoor positioning systems, such as Global Navigation and Satellite Systems (GNSS), encompass various satellite constellations like GPS, GALILEO, GLONASS, and BEIDUE. These satellites work together to provide accurate positioning on the Earth’s surface when there is an open sky view for the receivers. Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) offer positioning capabilities in areas where GNSS is limited due to limitations to open sky view. IPS provide valuable positioning utilising a large variety of technologies and interconnected devices such as smartphones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, digital cameras and some other purpose-built installations strategically placed in a defined space.
Outdoor Positioning systems (GNSS)
The benefits of outdoor positioning systems like GNSS are immense for businesses in Ghana. GNSS technology has simplified the process of capturing spatial data for digital mapping, opening avenues for businesses to improve navigation, optimise logistics and transportation routes, and achieve cost savings and improved efficiency. By equipping assets such as delivery vans with GNSS receivers, businesses can track them in real-time – leading to better fleet management, theft prevention and on-time deliveries.
The integration of GNSS technology in smartphones and other devices allows managers to track the location of field sales teams, thus promoting accountability and productivity. This capability enables businesses to optimise work allocation and ensure efficient operations. Additionally, GNSS technology coupled with AI analytics allows businesses to analyse consumer behaviour in specific geographic regions – leading to tailored marketing strategies and product offerings.
Furthermore, GNSS technology powers applications like Google Maps; making it easier for users to find optimal routes, avoid traffic jams and receive ordered goods efficiently. It is not only the ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt that have capitalised on this technology, creating more job opportunities and reducing youth unemployment; but also institutions that need to keep a database of the citizenry’s identities and their home addresses.
For financial institutions offering loans secured by landed properties, GNSS hand-held receivers or apps can be used to verify property locations as shown on cadastral plans; thus mitigating the risk of fraudulent loans. Financial institutions can also use GNSS to create digital location maps of their branches, ATMs and POS terminals for integration into their banking apps – further enhancing service accessibility and customer satisfaction.
GNSS technology enhances the tourism sector by helping tourists navigate and explore Ghana’s attractions with location-based services, such as Google Maps. Site-specific maps and comprehensive tourism web maps integrated into smartphone apps offer valuable assistance to visitors such as interactive guided tours. Hospitality businesses can utilise GNSS for efficient resource management, personalised services and enhanced guest-safety, especially at large tourist sites like national parks.
In a developing economy like Ghana agriculture is a crucial sector, and GNSS technology has brought remarkable advancements. Farmers can now employ precision agriculture techniques, precisely mapping their fields and optimising irrigation, fertiliser and pesticide usage. By utilising GNSS-guided machinery, farmers can increase productivity, reduce waste and achieve better crop yields. GNSS-powered drones aid in monitoring crop health on large farms, enabling timely detection and management of issues like pest or disease attacks.
Indoor Positioning systems (IPS)
In areas where GNSS signals are limited, such as indoors, Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) come into play. IPS technology is crucial for various indoor spaces like shopping malls, airports, warehouses and corporate campuses. IPS offers analytics for better decision-making, providing valuable data on guest movement patterns – enabling businesses to optimise venue layouts and enhance user experiences.
For instance, a busy shopping mall can offer visitors a lightweight mobile app or utilise a web-based indoor navigation system to guide shoppers through the mall to their desired destinations. In emergency situations, indoor location tracking technology can help guests quickly locate exits and navigate to safety… potentially saving lives.
Moreover, IPS technology proves valuable for large venues without a sky view; allowing businesses to track and manage assets efficiently, reducing the risk of asset loss and unexpected operational challenges. Critical assets can be configured to trigger alarms when they leave designated areas or pass certain exits, facilitating asset management and preventing unexpected budgetary surprises.
Positioning and Navigation Systems, both outdoor and indoor, have helped in transforming various businesses. GNSS technology has enhanced logistics, fleet management, consumer analytics and customer satisfaction. IPS technology has opened up possibilities for better decision-making, improved user experiences, and asset tracking in indoor spaces. Embracing these technologies can position businesses in Ghana for success by improving cost-effectiveness, efficiency, safety and overall decision-making processes. It can indeed be said that the opportunities to use and create more innovative business benefits in Ghana on the back of this technology are vast and span several business sectors.
The writer is a Principal Geodetic Engineer at Single Eye Engineering Consult Ltd.
Areas of work: Land surveying, Remote-sensing, drone surveys, road geometric design and GIS
Email: [email protected]