Verizon bolsters location tech with Senion acquisition

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Senion employees have joined the Location Technology team within Verizon New Business Incubation. (Getty Images)

Verizon continues to bolster its precise location technology efforts, on Monday announcing the acquisition of Senion.

Senion developed an indoor positioning platform that promises sub-meter accuracy for position and navigation using machine-learning sensor fusion technology.

Verizon is not disclosing financial terms of the deal. 

Sensor fusion at a basic level gathers and fuses data from multiple sensors to deliver more reliable information that can then be used to make decisions or take certain actions. Software and algorithms help drive the technology. More can be found in this explainer on sensor fusion.

For Verizon, the carrier called out enterprises, facility leaders and operation managers as using the Senion indoor positioning system (IPS) to locate and analyze movement of people, machines and IoT devices located within an indoor space.

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“Verizon Location Technology is working to build a more efficient and productive world. This involves giving machines sight and providing enterprise leaders with deeper insights, enabling the orchestration of any space,” said Jeff Frantz, executive director of Verizon Location Technology, in a statement. “Sensor fusion and indoor positioning are foundational components for these next-generation capabilities.”

The Location Technology team is part of Verizon New Business Incubation, which is focused on scaling new automation businesses and now includes Senion employees. Senion has offices in Sweden and San Francisco.

Senion's capabilities are complementary to Verizon's Digital Space Orchestration offering being developed by the Location Technology team, a spokesperson told Fierce via email. That effort "allows indoor and outdoor spaces to be digitized, managed, updated and refreshed in near real-time." 

Senion's sensor fusion and indoor positioning solutions work in environments where GPS isn't viable, she noted, saying it's a valuable feature as objects, devices and machines move around both indoor and outdoor locations. 

And 5G is part of the picture, with Verizon pointing to speed, throughput and reliability.

Verizon sees its initial target as enterprise customers "but recognize that there could potentially be private wireless consumer applications in the future," the spokesperson said. 

According to Senion’s website, its IPS for smartphones features indoor wayfinding, geofencing, occupancy detection, location sharing, analytics and predictive intelligence for location-based and responsive apps. Currently setup involves beacons mounted to walls or ceilings for the indoor positioning system and the website says location is updated constantly with refresh rates of several times per second offering accuracy of about 2 meters.

“Senion was created with the vision that one day our sensor fusion technology would allow for precise positioning for anyone and anything, at anytime,” said Christian Lundquist, CEO and co-founder of Senion, in a statement. “By leveraging Verizon’s expertise in connectivity and location technology, we can further our work to improve workflows for companies and create seamless, responsive and location-aware services.”

Verizon has been focused on location-based tech paired with its 5G capabilities in outdoor settings as well. In April the carrier expanded access of its Hyper Precise Location (HPL) software-as-a-service (SaaS) to more than 100 U.S. markets, with positioning technology that promises centimeter-level accuracy. Road safety is one of the applications Verizon’s looking at, in combination with 5G MEC and V2X software, as well as automated operations in construction and smart agriculture.

The HPL service is offered through the carrier’s ThingsSpace IoT platform.

Updated with additional information from Verizon spokesperson.