Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indoor LBS Published Report on the Micro Location & In-Building Wayfinding Industry

This latest report features 100 companies that are working on indoor location, tracking, mapping, and navigation, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, AT&T, Skyhook Wireless, Point Inside, and many more. Learn about the business opportunities, revenue models, and outlook for the indoor location services industry from case studies and examples. More (including the sample) here.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apple plans to use location for auto-checkins to rate venus by number of iPhones visiting

The patent -- RELEVANCY RANKING FOR MAP-RELATED SEARCH--was filed by Apple in May 2010 and published in August this year. The location service will log iPhone users visits to venues like shops and restaurants based on the user's time spent there. iPhone users won't need an app to check-in.

This is the opposite of location services like Foursquare or Facebook where users are required to open an app and click the check-in button to log their location. Apple wants to improve its mobile search service by harvesting data from its users. Apple will use the popularity of venues with iPhone users as a way to rank them in search results. The information will be anonymous and you can opt out of the system altogether.

Apple's patent lays out the limitations of the current ways we have of organising location search: "Search results ordered by proximity do not account for quality of the search result relative to the query. Search results ordered by average-user-ranking are based upon opinions of relatively few people whom take the time to review the location. Search results that are ordered based on advertising dollars also do not take into account quality or desirability and sometimes broaden the criteria for relevance beyond a desirable measure."

Apple explain that they will ensure anonymity by assigning users a unique ID number. The server which tracks and logs your location will only know the ID number and not your identity. "Data can be anonymously recorded and tracked for individual devices by assigning the device a unique identifier that is separate from any user information. One way to do this is to alert the handheld communication device of its unique ID, and the handheld communication device can report data along with its unique ID. In this way, the server will only be tracking the movements of an anonymous user based on an ID."

Note that Apple have made sure they are the only ones authorized to use the users' unique IDs - this isn't some open feature that app developers will be able to use. This will be a treasure trove of user behavior information that will accumulate behind Apple's closed doors. Apple can package this info into "heat maps" and monetize it, in addition to improving the user experience.

It seems like an intelligent way to improve search, but isn't one piece of technology missing here? A more accurate indoor micro location? There can be two venues next to each other; how will Apple determine which venue the user is in without a more accurate location technology? Is Apple planning on using MEMS to improve the location precision of the existing GPS and Wi-Fi location technology?

Friday, September 9, 2011

RIM Launched Wi-Fi Geolocation for Blackberry

RIM launched WiFi geo-location service for Blackberry devices. Using Wi-Fi Access Point data that has been collected anonymously from BlackBerrys, this technology can provide location based sharing apps (such as Foursquare or Twitter) a quick location fix globally with minimum bandwidth usage.

This service is a further enhancement to RIM’s Cell-site geolocation service, which has been in service globally for more than a year. Wi-Fi geolocation is faster and more convenient than GPS-based and Cell-site based location as well as uses less bandwidth, though the accuracy falls somewhere between that of GPS and Cell-site. One advantage to Wi-Fi geolocation service is that it typically works even when GPS is not available. For example, when a user is indoors or when a user prefers not to turn their GPS on in order to preserve battery life, Wi-Fi geolocation service is still an option.

APIs are available for devices running BlackBerry 6 OS and higher, though service provisioning may take up to a month.
Developers should not have to care the way OS/Device would give them a fix. They should have just one API with input parameter like 'approximate', 'acceptable', 'accurate.' Instead, it seems RIM requires developers to deal with the whole set of APIs, check device, network, ways device has access to the internet, and so on.
 Because of this, RIM might see low adoption of their technology.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Microsoft working on indoor location

Bing maps already offer in-building maps. But what about indoor location?

A recent job listing mentions of what the core location service team will be expected to do: working on more accurate ways to determine a device’s location even without assistance from the built-in GPS.

“The team is looking for highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people to build the core location service platform. We are tasked with delivering a highly scalable service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot. You will work closely with MSR and other research groups to improve our algorithms for mining large amounts of data using Bayesian analysis and other machine learning techniques. We have incredibly hard problems to solve in the coming year such as solving the indoor positioning problem as well as motion detection and relevance based positioning.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

txtNation powers KidSpotter location system

Rating: Indoor & outdoor child safety solution

A system designed to provide both indoor and outdoor location for safety conscious venues is currently being marketed by KidSpotter. It is particularly suited to high footfall markets such as theme and leisure parks. As a service, however, KidSpotter is highly dependent on SMS/text as an intgral part of its operations. Hence, Kidspotter has announced an alliance with SMS aggregator, txtNation, to ensure the success of this leading child safety tracking system.

With KidSpotter, determining location is achieved by children wearing a small, lightweight watch-like device – the Spotter. It contains a tiny little GPS receiver, but also communicates with the venue’s security system via Zigbee (the wireless data standard) for indoor location.

Friday, September 2, 2011

IndoorLBS Speaking & Moderating at the Indoor Location Symposium

Indoor Location Symposium

Day 1: Market Analysis Briefing
With the evolution of smartphones and their converged platforms, should we expect a change in advertising initiation and behavior within the indoor environment
● Market size for content based location services within the enterprise ● (excluding advertising)
● Indoor advertising market - location based
● Distribution of mobile advertising by location: Outdoor VS. Indoor ● and trends
● Advertising content for the indoor segment

Day 2: Indoor Location Based Advertising - Panel
A summary discussion on the different aspects of advertising based on IDL ● Technology and accuracy requirements
● Revenue income models
● Is location based push marketing effective or too intrusive
● Operators or Enterprise managed IDL advertising applications

Mr. Tristian Lacroix, VP Business Development, Indoor LBS (Moderator)
Mr. Bhavin Shah, VP Marketing and Business Development - Polaris Wireless
Mr. Ankit Agarwal, CEO - Micello
Mr. Kamal Garg, Sr. Manager Business Development - CNS - Sprint
Mr. John Bollen, VP of IT Strategy and Business Engagement - MGM Resorts

See full agenda here