Lost in space

Remember Beidou? The Chinese satellite was intended to save China from using foreign satellites for GPS systems and other types of tracking. According to Caixin, Beidou has veered off-course.

It appears that Beidou’s largest user demographic are some 10’000 Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea. Its limited use comes from the delayed release of decoding files – know as interface control document or ICD - to access the Beidou system, making it a low value proposition for application developers, not to mention the expensive terminals which don’t work with the US GPS standard.

This is too bad for a project that was intended to compete with the GPS, the European Galileo or the Russian Glonass. Beidou could end up be solely used by the government and the military or by Chinese firms since foreign companies have all been denied access to the ICD, unless they partner with a domestic enterprise. The day of open standards isn’t here yet.