Traditional location positioning such as GPS isn\u2019t going to be suitable for a Location of Things world filled with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, say experts. The centralized, anchor-like system we use now, as found in GPS, mobile network cell tower positioning services, and Wi-Fi-based location positioning, is going to be a problem. The usual suspects being bandwidth, excessive power use, and cost.\nThe problem is IoT devices are required to communicate with positioning anchors, whether it be satellites or radio towers. That\u2019s bandwidth-intensive; it can use a significant amount of power to cover the distances, as well as to power the multiple chips needed. The system is also conceivably susceptible to congestion as the numbers of devices increases \u2014 projections are for billions and billions of IoT things worldwide, ultimately.\n\nThe solution is to get the IoT sensors to communicate among themselves, scientists from Tufts University say. Forget about accessing distant resources for a locating ping, and simply use an algorithm to figure out where the device is in relation to other sensors, they say.\n\u201cCentralized positioning can become unwieldy as the number of items to track grows significantly,\u201d Tufts researchers say in a news release on the university's website. So, get \u201cthe devices [to] locate themselves without all of them needing direct access to anchors.\u201d\nIn this case, the scientists are talking about within a 5G wireless network. But the decentralized principal, conceptually, will relate to other networks, too.\nIndeed, I\u2019ve written about theoretical, self-configuring ad hoc networks before. That\u2019s where sensors learn on the fly about where other nodes are within the network rather than being told. It uses a technique called \u201crandom walk\u201d and is based loosely on how ants learn of other insects nearby \u2014 by bumping into them. Explorer ants count other ants to create a sample.\nHow Tufts' location-services concept works\nTufts\u2019 non-centralized location-services concept uses a device-to-device algorithm. It\u2019s tricky because the assumption is the device is mobile \u2014 one needs to calculate and obtain a track in real time. \u201cThe key is to obtain positions rapidly,\u201d the researchers say.\nBut they say the concept works.\nThe sensors calculate their location by measuring their position to a center of mass of other devices, or one other device, rather than to a distant, stationary anchor, such as the aforementioned cell tower or router. It gets more efficient the more nodes you add, unlike traditional positioning.\nAdditionally, it removes \u201cthe need to install a lot of transmitters [anchors] in buildings and neighborhoods,\u201d says Usman Khan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering, in the release. That saves money.\nCost reduction is one major advantage to reducing the number of hard, location-services anchor points.\nPoLTE Corporation's software-based location services\nBy using just software and radio signals for location, PoLTE Corporation, says it can reduce energy use in IoT and, along with it, cost. Unrelated to Tufts\u2019 locationing, PoLTE\u2019s software-based location services \u2014 which it\u2019s pitching to wireless network operators, such as those planning on building out 5G \u2014 combines cloud services with \u201ccomputationally complex location algorithms [that] can be offloaded from the device module,\u201d a representative told me in an email.\nPoLTE\u2019s system uploads the location data to the cloud, and that\u2019s where the heavy processing takes place. It removes the load off the sensor. Thus, as with Tufts\u2019 proposal, it is also taking location-services beyond traditional global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). PoLTE claims its cloud-based \u201clocation engine\u201d algorithm \u201ccan not only efficiently locate Internet of Things and mobile devices in real time, but do it seamlessly as they move between indoor and outdoor environments.\u201d\nBy not using a group of chipsets, like GPS, plus sensor, plus microprocessor, and so on, it \u201creduces battery drain to a fraction compared to GPS-location or other technologies,\u201d PoLTE says on its website. Fresh, mobile Location-of-Things data is going to become more important. Self-driving cars is one example that can use such a system.\n\u201cThe need to provide location awareness of every device, sensor, or vehicle, whether stationary or moving, is going to figure more prominently in the future," says Kahn.