07. 09. 2023

6 min

Author: Miroslav Doleček

Managed services for GNSS: A route to enhanced efficiency and security

From high availability to strategic implementation: delve into how MSPs tailored for GNSS enhance efficiency, security, and scalability in the digital age.


In an era of digital innovation, GNSS-based solutions have become vital in many industries, from precision agriculture to autonomous vehicles. Yet, as this frontier of technology continues to expand, so too do the complexities of deploying and managing GNSS applications. From data processing and distribution to scalability demands to security needs, the specialised knowledge required sets GNSS apart from many other technological ventures.

For service providers diving into the GNSS realm, it's not just about harnessing the power of satellite signals, but also navigating the unique challenges this domain presents. These challenges demand more than generic solutions; they call for a deep understanding of GNSS-specific use cases and tailored strategies to ensure optimal service delivery.

Why GNSS operations aren’t ‘one size fits all’

At the core of GNSS's demanding landscape is the need for specialised knowledge. However, as with other sophisticated technologies, we need to combine multiple fields to create quality added value products. In case of GNSS-based solutions, the cocktail consists of geospatial science, software development, and infrastructure design. This requires a team of software, hardware, and GNSS experts. Few firms can boast proficiency in all of these areas, potentially leading to missteps in the development and management of software solutions. 

A comprehension of GNSS related terminologies, such as RTK, integrity, reference frames, and understanding the principles behind them is a vital starting point when evaluating potential technology partners. Add to this the familiarity of GNSS-related protocols and standards, and it’s clear that mastery in this sphere is pivotal in reducing developmental risks and enhancing the velocity of project completion.

But the challenges don’t stop at GNSS technology and protocol familiarity. Many novel GNSS-based applications demand reliable and resilient system infrastructure. Any service disruption can degrade or even deny vital services and lead to financial loss or even put lives in danger. Providers need systems with built-in redundancy, stringent monitoring, and optimal risk mitigation mechanisms against both hardware malfunctions and accidental data mishaps.

Data processing in GNSS-based systems is also multifaceted. On one hand, there's a need for real-time data exchange in certain applications, in which even milliseconds can matter. On the other, there's the gargantuan task of handling large volumes of spatial data, such as high-resolution mapping across vast terrains or managing information layers vital in the delivery of specialised services. Other systems might require computationally intensive tasks, sometimes in a limited time window. Moreover, integration with other systems over API (RESTful, gRPC) is critical part of system interconnection.

Scalability is another focal point, as GNSS-based solutions must cater to a diverse range of use cases, which can vary in volume of end-users and/or geographical service coverage. For example, GNSS corrections service can range from highly specialised IoT gadgets and rovers to mass-produced receivers located in different world regions. With an ever-expanding user base, there's a pressing need for a robust distributed system architecture, one that not only ensures seamless service during peak times, but also mitigates potential system overloads. 
In some cases, the original design concept might saturate. In these situations, manageable scaling to larger volumes requires a design review. For example, an existing model of NRTK VRS corrections computation and delivery might be unsustainable. Broadcasting corrections over MQTT, advanced NTRIP Caster, or 3GPP, however, could offer a way to ensure that RTK corrections may be used in mass market.

How GNSS value-added applications can thrive with managed services

Delving into this multifaceted terrain can be an intimidating endeavour for many GNSS value-adding service providers. This is where a partnership with a specialized Managed Service Provider (MSP) tailored for GNSS can make all the difference. At the crux of this collaboration lies a blend of top-tier performance, unrivalled reliability, and enhanced service integrity, all of which are essential elements for GNSS added value applications.

Familiarity with GNSS terminology, protocols, and standards significantly accelerates project timelines as well. Moreover, this expertise minimises the risk of developmental problems, subsequently reducing rework and the associated costs. With an MSP on their side, service providers not only receive guidance, but also benefit from an industry-specific review, which can offer valuable insights and suggestions for enhancing the service developed. Moreover, GNSS MSPs often own validated GNSS frameworks that can work as foundations for solution development to further accelerate project schedules.

Managed services are not only about the implementation and delivery of a new product, but also the execution and operation of the service. One of the foremost benefits of a partnership with an MSP is the guarantee of high availability and resilience. While off-the shelf solutions may falter under GNSS's unique demands, specialised MSPs understand the paramount importance of a robust service level agreements (SLA). This understanding translates into infrastructures that put service integrity and redundancy at the forefront. Moreover, you don’t have to have your own experts spending their time running the service, thus freeing up time for your team to focus on what they’re best at.

When it comes to security and compliance, MSPs are also invaluable allies. Recognising the sensitive nature of real time location data and its appeal to threat actors, these MSPs prioritise robust security measures, ensuring data, at rest or in transit, is safeguarded. Moreover, with stringent data privacy laws like GDPR in play, MSPs can offer assurance that systems are compliant, minimising potential legal ramifications.

A strategic approach to GNSS implementation

Building and maintaining GNSS-based products and services isn’t merely about technological adoption; it's a strategic endeavour. Service providers must not only consider their immediate needs, but also anticipate future demands, technological shifts, and industry evolutions. This foresight is vital, ensuring that both software and infrastructure remain adaptable and future-proof.

Navmatix leverages its expertise in GNSS to help businesses to innovate and to overcome their system design and execution challenges. Call us today to learn more.

Written by:
Miroslav Doleček Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder at Navmatix

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