Walkbase claims to have a very simple and scalable solution for indoor location that can help RF fingerprint rooms using crowd-sourced data and smart self-learning algorithms. It is building up a database of room fingerprints every time someone uses its technology in an app, Walkbase scans the room for Wi-Fi and other signals and uses the data to define a room. The self-learning algorithm can filter out less reliable information and can adjust when certain Wi-Fi access points go down or move. It claims an accuracy of three to five meters.
Indoor location is poised to be the next hot mobile service with its ability to enable indoor maps, wayfinding inside a venue, targeted mobile offers, product search inside a store, and locating your lost child inside a mall. This latest Indoor Location Market Research Report (Jan 2012 release) outlines 120 companies competing, consolidating, and aligning with each other. Indoor location offers too many advantages for mobile technology companies to pass up.
Since 2003, IndoorLBS, LLC has been monitoring and evaluating the Location-Based Services industry, specifically the convergence of positioning technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID/NFC, and MEMS as alternative or complimentary positioning technologies to GPS. In 2006, indoorLBS.com produced the groundbreaking book on indoor LBS, Local Positioning Systems: LBS Applications and Services.
This report version is a result of the continued activity in the indoor LBS industry. While some companies have given way to the constantly evolving market others have found their footing and are beginning to also develop a stride. A few interesting events overall in the market are also in play and jockeying for position. Specifically, retailers are at a point where they must decide what will be their approach in the LBS space. Will they hire or outsource an indoor location solution and likewise a marketing strategy or will they create their own? In both instances the indoor LBS space is not being ignored, as critics like to disregard. In fact, retail companies are actually stumbling upon the ‘hidden’ treasure of indoor location out of necessity to update their customers ‘need’ for WiFi at their venue. Others are adding indoor location into their marketing strategies and budgets. While still other retailers are trying to understand and become aware of the benefit of utilizing indoor location for what they do and to compete with the likes of Amazon
What is also compelling is how larger and much more adept power players in the technology space are ‘allowing’ for companies to provide their vital wi-fi access points of their indoor space in order to create a geo-referenced indoor map. Thus, effectively capitalizing on future potential revenue from advertising and leveraging the lack awareness of the general small business owner to create an entire indoor network which would be ripe for the taking in advertising space.
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Chip manufacturers including Broadcom, Qualcomm, TI, CSR and others will launch micro indoor location solutions this year. These chipset makers are investing in indoor positioning because they plan to incorporate indoor location features in their cellphone chips, including motion tracking abilities in sensor processing chips and signal triangulation in RF chips. Indoor location capabilities will complement their existing GPS solutions to be embedded inside upcoming mobile devices that we will use everyday.
Today, more than ever, indoor location positioning looks poised to be the next hot mobile service with its ability to enable pinpointing users inside a building and provide in-building wayfinding, deal offers when user is inside a mall, or point customers inside a retail store to products they want to buy. Indoors is the last mile and the next frontier for the location services market and indoor positioning offers too many advantages for mobile technology companies to pass up.
By combining real-time Wi-Fi positioning information, pedestrian dead reckoning (i.e., MEMS) and aiding data from a cloud-based location server, these new solutions will be able to achieve the rapid and more accurate indoor position fixes needed to make indoor location a reality on a mass scale.
It is expected that Broadcom will launch a WiFi-based micro location offering mid 2012 capable of 10m location accuracy. This will upgrade its hosted Location Based Services and network to provide positioning services to enable faster, more accurate location performance in deep urban and indoor environments. It will also enable Broadcom to offer integrated hybrid positioning services that supplement AGPS and cellular network capabilities. The combined solution also capitalizes on the emerging trend of integrating multiple wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS into cellular handsets.
Broadcom anonymously collects information from a crowd-sourced sources and ties MAC addresses to physical locations. Then they are plotted on a heat map and can be viewed in a three dimensional format (with a slick six-axis joystick). After enabling cellular towers on the map, areas that are colored red (meaning a higher density of people and therefore heat) become cluttered with access points, painting a digital map of connectivity.
InvenSense provides motion processors. Its MLP solution for Android 2.3 delivers sensor fusion data to new API structures in Android OS. The new APIs allow application developers like Point Inside, for example, to leverage the benefits to provide indoor navigation.
CSR has been working on 'deep indoor location technology', a subtle integration of data from multiple sensors to extend GPS-like facilities to equipment that is out of range of satellite signals. CSR’s technology covers Bluetooth low energy, GPS and deep-indoor positioning solutions. MEMS technology is also useful for building sensors for the dead reckoning used in deep indoor location, and also for making RF oscillators.
Unlike many other systems that require manual surveys to build and maintain an indoor Wi-Fi and cellular location database, the CSR Positioning Centre cloud-based server is able to receive anonymous and voluntary location information wirelessly from users’ devices, even indoors, to improve the database.
At CES 2012, Intel announced that the first Intel smartphones will be Lenovo (launching on China Unicom ) and Motorola. Intel has a lot of catching up to do on the mobile, specifically location and sensor technology.
Google is not a chipset maker, of course, however, with it’s intended purchase of Motorola, Google will be looking forward to enabling indoor location on Motorola devices to make them more competitive, either by leveraging what the chip guys have to offer, or by opening up its indoor location API to 3rd parties.
Want to know more? Get the full report here.
Google launched indoor maps and indoor location and it is going global with it. What is the impact of this to the industry and the 100 or so existing players? The IndoorLBS market report features 100 companies that are working on indoor location, tracking, mapping, and navigation, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Broadcom, Navizon, Qualcomm, Navteq, Nokia, 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.
CES convention center is huge and it's hard to find your way around. Google has brought indoor maps and location to the CES Show. Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you're viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. The location "blue dot" icon indicates your position within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you're on.
But that's not all! The new indoor maps for CES even feature booth-to-booth navigation to help you find your way around. Now that's the "WOW factor".
Given the frequent dearth of wireless connectivity inside most of Vegas' locales, the entire showroom floor has be en indexed, and you can even cache the area for offline use. This is a nice way for Google to show you all you need is an Android device with Google Maps v.6 and you should be good to go!
Want to compete with Google? There are other vendors showcasing their own indoor map solution at CES. Contact me at email@example.com for details.
TI and 9Solutions will demonstrate a Bluetooth-based indoor navigation and tracking system using Apple iPhone 4S and 9Solutions' Lone Worker Protection ID-Badge Tag and uTag product line. The 9Solutions IPCS Bluetooth low energy product line utilizes TI's CC2540 Bluetooth low energy system-on-chip. When Bluetooth 4.0 was released, 9Solutions started developing its Bluetooth low energy-based solution right away, enabling tracking of virtually all Bluetooth devices, like IPCS Tags and Bluetooth enabled mobile phones. Bluetooth low energy technology is ideal for real time locating systems and the 9Solutions IPCS product line offers an optimal solution for wireless indoor asset tracking. The 9Solutions' indoor tracking system based on TI's Bluetooth 4.0 system-on-chip is an excellent example of how companies are using Bluetooth technology to bring innovative solutions to market through the Bluetooth SIG.
If you're going to CES this year, make sure to see indoor location demos by CSR, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Point Inside, VisioGlobe, Nokia, Micello, and others. Also expect apps that will show you indoor venue map of the CES convention center marked where each CES exhibitor is located and with real-time indoor location showing you where you are so you can navigate indoors at more ease this year!
With Google's entry into indoor mapping and indoor location, traditional retail stores like Sears, Macy's, Home Depot, etc can start delivering engaging and customized offers and loyalty rewards based on customers being in the physical store, not on the web like Amazon. Even more, with apps like aisle411, consumers can create shopping lists at home and then easily find the products inside the store while getting additional coupons and offers in exchange for being physically present in the store.
If you need more info on where and when these demos will take place, email Tristian at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in Vegas!