Service providers, manufacturing companies and public authorities must all now take a serious look at what GALILEO has to offer, and set their priorities so as not to let slip the huge opportunities it will bring. Not since personal computers or mobile telephony swept global consumer markets will the world have seen such a vast range of new commercial and public service opportunities and applications.
Many potential applications have already been identified, based on the increased quality and reliability of GALILEO navigation signals, but this list is certain to grow, limited only by the imaginations of innovative entrepreneurs and service providers.
LOCATION BASED SERVICES
The integration of accurate hand-held positioning signal receivers, possibly within mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mp3 players, portable computers, digital cameras and video devices, will bring GALILEO services directly to individuals, making possible a fundamental transformation of the way we work and play.
The term Location Based Services (LBS) covers a broad range of applications that are triggered according to the location of the end user, or are otherwise dependent on the location of the users or objects being tracked. LBS has been identified as the main initial market for GALILEO, in terms of number of users and potential revenues.
To start with, LBS will include ‘Mobile Yellow Pages' or ‘Proximity Services' providing users, wherever they are, with the locations of nearest businesses. This can be linked to new advertising services, providing proximity-based information on available products and services.
Dedicated positioning devices will be available for tourists or hikers, for amusement park and museum visitors, even shoppers within large shopping centres. Such devices will also provide a new dimension of security, allowing the location of stolen property, or lost pets or individuals, by third parties and security authorities.
Along these lines, GALILEO will, for example, provide a global Search and Rescue (SAR) function, based on the operational Cospas-Sarsat system. Each GALILEO satellite will be equipped with a transponder, able to transfer distress signals from user transmitters to a rescue coordination centre, which will then initiate rescue operations.
GALILEO will make for enormous improvements in safety and comfort in the transport sector. Services based on improved GALILEO signals such as fleet management, detailed maps or voice notifications will help to alleviate problems in the road transport domain, but also in aviation, maritime, rail, and pedestrian traffic.
The design, construction and operation of energy networks for electricity, oil and gas require accurate localisation systems. Power grids must be continuously monitored to ensure efficient operation. When a power line breaks or a weakness appears in the grid, it is vital that monitoring instruments are synchronized with maximum accuracy. The improvements in existing navigation and time synchronisation services represented by GALILEO will offer new possibilities for energy transport and distribution.
Similarly, in the oil and gas sector, marine seismic exploration will increasingly profit from GALILEO services to seismic acquisition vessels and seismic streamer arrays and gun arrays. High-resolution surveys of new sites and identification of any geomorphologic or geophysical risks will also increase the safety of drilling activities.
FINANCE, BANKING, INSURANCE
In today's information society, security, data integrity, authenticity and confidentiality have emerged as major issues in the electronic exchange of documents and computer files. GALILEO will play a key role in the protection of such information, using the latest authentication techniques.
Accuracy and reliability are absolute requirements in civil engineering. Combined with digital mapping, GALILEO offers a powerful tool for decreasing cost and increasing productivity while maintaining the highest construction standards, from the planning of structures to the maintenance and surveillance of existing infrastructure.
By integrating GALILEO with other technologies, the agriculture community can benefit from:
• Improved monitoring of the distribution and dilution of chemicals
• Improved parcel yield from customised treatment
• More efficient property management
The fishing industry will see:
• More effective information exchange between vessels and stations
• Improved fishing capabilities
• Improved navigation aids for fishermen
Improved GALILEO services will be used to track pollutants, dangerous goods and icebergs, to map the oceans, study tides, currents and sea levels. They will be used to monitor the atmosphere, water vapour for weather forecasting and climate studies, and the ionosphere for radio communications, space science and even earthquake prediction. The movements of wild animals can be tracked to help preserve their habitats.
The GALILEO time scale synchronised with the widely used UTC (Universal Time Co-ordinate) time scale to an extraordinary level of accuracy.
The time information given by GALILEO will be useful in many areas of application. Wireless telecommunication networks will use it for network management, for time tagging and for synchronisation of the many frequency references. Power plants and networks will use the common time reference system as well for time stamping, but also as a common reference for all system monitoring and control.
The scientific community will also benefit from high-accuracy GALILEO, time signals, allowing close adherence to international time standards and calibration of atomic clocks. Certified time stamps are also useful for applications such as electronic banking, e-commerce, stock transactions, quality assurance systems and services, but also many others such as traffic light regulation, and certified document production.
As already stated, the list of possible applications is still to be completed and the full potential for user services and devices unknown. It will be noted that GPS-based services already exist in many of the areas mentioned above. The key point is that GALILEO services will be more accurate and more reliable, making possible a completely new range of more beneficial and commercially profitable products and services.