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INDOOR LOCATION & MAPPING SERVICES
The Convergence of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and MEMS

200pgs, 170 companies
See below


RISE OF THE iBEACONS
The Micro-Location & Proximity Revolution


75pgs; 81 companies


INDOOR 3D MAPS & AUGMENTED REALITY
The New Frontier

30pgs; 20 companies 
More info here





Indoor Location & Mapping Services Report

This comprehensive 200-page report features over 170 companies who are involved with indoor maps, indoor location, indoor tracking, indoor geo-fencing,  indoor wayfinding, and indoor location analytics. Big companies like Apple, Google, Cisco, Intel are included, as well as startup companies that are paving the innovation in the space. Any questions, email Tristian at tristian@indoorlbs.com
v6.4 Updated: Jan 2014

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Synopsis 

Since 2003, IndoorLBS, LLC has been monitoring and evaluating the Location-Based Services industry, specifically the convergence of positioning technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and sensor-based location technologies like accelerometers, gyroscopes, MEMS as alternative or complimentary positioning technologies to GPS. IndoorLBS has been publishing this market report for several years now with multiple updates each year.

There are at least 170 companies today working on indoor location, indoor maps, in-building tracking, and wayfinding (navigation) inside buildings. The growth of this market has been impressive over the last 10 years. Indoor LBS become “main stream” when Google entered this market with venue maps and indoor location positioning.

Indoors is the last mile and the next frontier for the location services market. Indoor maps emerged rapidly in 2009 as start-ups such as Point Inside and Micello, and later giant NAVTEQ (Nokia), released their indoor content (Note: Navteq/Nokia aggregates content from several small players, in addition to collecting its own indoor maps content.) While indoor mapping data is available for in-building wayfinding apps, associated location determination is still a challenge. A number of tagging & infrastructure-based technologies can deliver to precise indoor location, but, it is tough to make these solutions ubiquitous.

Google might not win this market. Venues want to control content, monetization, and branding. What we find, particularly with shopping centers, is that they’ve spent hundreds of millions if not billions building chains, and they’re not keen on losing control of the monetization of the space. That’s where all these non-Google companies come in. As enamored as people were with Google, they were keen on keeping the monetization aspect for themselves, which opened up a bit of a window for all the startups mentioned in this report.

However, Google has it ways and as of Dec 2012, it already claims to have 10,000 indoor maps, including shopping malls, airports, museums. Even more interesting, it also has retail maps: all of Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. IndoorLBS speculates that Google is getting the source data (i.e., PDFs of floorplans) directly from the venues. Google is convincing these retailers and businesses that having their floorpans inside Google Maps will benefit them and users. In some cases, Google is allegedly paying the retailers and businesses for their source data.

With Google, Apple and Microsoft all bringing out their own indoor solutions, what opportunities exist for smaller vendors? Is the indoor LBS sector likely to be dominated by one company? 

Ankit Agarwal, CEO, Micello:
"It's unlikely the sector will be dominated by one company. For outdoor maps, a number of companies offer maps and platforms. For indoors, we see ourselves as both a data provider and a provider of a platform for indoor location apps."

Rob Palfreyman, CEO, Sensewhere:
"The likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft are yet to prove global deployment of their indoor positioning solutions, which would indicate that they are yet to solve the problem. Therefore we foresee major acquisitions happening in this area for each company to have its own technology. However, other major players such as MNO and other OEMs will also seek to have some control over this and may desire access to their own technology."

Rich Kang, Director, Innovation, Caesars Entertainment:
"Smaller vendors can tailor their solutions more to the business needs for the individual brand or company. For example, many businesses would like to get their hands on the data and movement history of their customers as well as have a proprietary method to deliver location-based offers directly to their customers. The challenge will be for consumers to adopt individual solutions per business rather than one overall tool. Domination by one company? Perhaps, but not for a long time, since all companies try to differentiate themselves for competitive reasons. We are all learning what resonates with customers and what technologies ultimately scale and prove ease of maintenance and integration."

Josh Marti, CEO, Point Inside:
"Retailers and mall owners have begun to view their indoor maps as a strategic asset and are questioning the trade-offs implicit in providing larger vendors with this information without consideration. Within Google’s indoor maps, we ran an experiment with The Home Depot that highlights the problem for retailers. As a shopper, we zoomed into one of the indoor maps of a local Home Depot and searched for “paint.” We were automatically repositioned to the Lowe’s hardware store down the road. Google was essentially “selling” Home Depot’s customers to their competitor, Lowes. From Home Depot’s perspective, they had worked to get that customer into their store and now they have to pay Google to keep them. Google would not have that leverage if Home Depot did not provide the indoor mapping information to them. Retailers will want to maintain control of those assets and will likely work with vendors who provide that. To date, Google, Apple and Microsoft don’t."

Conclusion:
Expect to see some major acquisitions by big companies in the near future as different players seek to dominate indoor LBS. But don’t expect to see one clear leader emerge for a while – no one has yet developed a single, universal, cross-platform solution that is also ideal for micro-customizing by merchants.


Table of Contents
1. Background  pg6

2. Introduction 6

2.1 Uses Cases 7
2.1.1 Indoor E911: Public Safety and Emergency Response 7
2.1.2 Public Service: Elderly and the Blind 9
2.1.3 Mobile Advertising and Product Shopping 10
2.1.4 Location “Check-ins” 10
2.1.5 Enterprise Indoor Tracking 11
2.1.6 Tour Guides 11
2.1.7 Military 12
2.2 Indoor Maps, Location, and Navigation 13
2.2.1 Indoor Maps and Indoor POIs 14
2.2.2 Indoor Geo-Location 15
2.2.3 Indoor Navigation 17
2.2.4 Indoor Geo-Location Comparison 19

3. Companies 22
3.1 Company 22
Type: Public Service / Indoor Navigation 22
3.2 Company 23
Type: Consumer / LBS 23
3.3 Company 26
Type: Enterprise / Indoor Tracking 26
3.4 Company 26
Type: Emergency Response / 3D Buildings 26
3.5 Company ST 27
Type: Defense / Indoor Tracking 27
3.6 Company 27
Type: Consumer / Indoor Tracking 27
3.7 Company 28
Type: OEM / Telematics 28
3.8 Company 28
Type: Enterprise / Indoor Tracking 28
3.9 Company 28
Type: Emergency Response / Location Tracking 28
3.10 Company 28
Type: Security / Indoor Tracking & Navigation 28
3.11 Company 30
Type: Emergency Response / Indoor Navigation 30
3.12 Company 31
Type: Consumer / Indoor Routing 31
3.13 Company 32
Type: Location Provider / Indoor Location 32
3.14 Company 33
Type: Location & Map Provider / Indoor Location & Maps 33
3.15 Company 34
Type: Mobile Shopping / Indoor Location 34
3.16 Company 34
Type: Public Safety / Indoor Location 34
3.17 Company 34
Type: Enterprise / Indoor Tracking 34
3.18 Company 35
Type: Mapping / Indoor Displays 35
3.19 Company 35
Type: Mobile Shopping / Indoor Location 35
3.20 Company, Inc 36
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 36
3.21 Company 36
Type: Public Safety 36
3.22 Company 37
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 37
3.23 Company 37
Type: Mobile Marketing / Indoor Navigation 37
3.24 Company Inc. 38
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 38
3.25 Company 38
Type: Public safety/emergency response 38
3.26 Company 38
Type: Public Safety / Emergency Response 38
3.27 Company 39
Type: Augmented Reality / Indoor Navigation 39
3.28 Company 39
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 39
3.29 Company 39
Type: Consumer / Indoor Maps 39
3.30 Company 40
Type: Consumer / Indoor Maps 40
3.31 Company 41
Type: Standards / Location Tracking 41
3.32 Company 41
Type: Consumer / Enterprise / Indoor Location Provider 41
3.33 Company 43
Type: Consumer / Enterprise / Indoor Maps 43
3.34 Company 43
Type: Consumer / Indoor Maps 43
3.35 Company 45
Type: Indoor Location / Indoor Maps 45
3.36 Company 46
Type: Consumer / Indoor RFID 46
3.37 Company 47
Type: Standards / Indoor Routing 47
3.38 Company 48
Type: Consumer / Indoor Maps 48
3.39 Company 49
Type: Mobile Marketing / Indoor Navigation 49
3.40 Company 49
Type: Mobile Marketing / Indoor Location 49
3.41 Company 50
Type: Location Provider / Indoor Location 50
3.42 Company, Inc 51
Type: Security / Indoor Location 51
3.43 Company 52
Type: Telecom / Indoor Tracking 52
3.44 Company 53
Type: Shopping / Sound Proximity 53
3.45 Company 54
Type: Location Provider / Indoor Location 54
3.46 Company 54
Type: Consumer / LBS 54
3.47 Company 55
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 55
3.48 Company 55
Type: Enterprise / Indoor Maps 55
3.49 Company Systems 57
Type: Public Safety / Indoor Tracking 57
3.50 Company 58
Type: Enterprise / Indoor Tracking 58
3.51 Company 58
Type: Defense / Indoor Tracking 58
3.52 Company 60
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 60
3.53 Company 60
Type: Public Safety / Inertial Navigation 60
3.54 Company 61
Type: Public Safety / RTLS 61
3.55 Company 61
Type: Location Provider / Indoor Location 61
3.56 Company 62
Type: Emergency Response / Indoor Location 62
3.57 Company 62
Type: Consumer / LBS 62
3.58 Company 62
Type: Enterprise / Asset Tracking 62
3.59 Company 62
Type: Consumer / LBS 62

3.60...


3.80... 20+ new companies added in version 5 of the report

3.100... 20+ new companies added in version 5.5 of the report

4. Business Models for Indoor LBS
Business (Pricing) Models and Metrics
Mobile Advertising Revenue
Appendix 1. Study Questions


Sample

1. Background
Since 2003, indoorLBS.com has been monitoring and evaluating the Location-Based Services industry, specifically the convergence of location technologies for indoor use like WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, and locating sensor technologies like accelerometers, gyroscopes , MEMS as alternative or complimentary positioning technologies to GPS. (Did you know that, for example, 75% of iPhone devices use WiFi geolocation and not GPS to locate the device?)

In 2006, indoorLBS.com produced the highly anticipated and groundbreaking book on indoor LBS, Local Positioning Systems: LBS Applications and Services.

As a result of hyper activity in the indoor LBS industry, there has been a flurry of next generation market activity, i.e. mobile marketing and retail (shopping coupons), public safety, emergency response, augmented reality, social networking, airport navigation, mall navigation, product search, etc. The purpose of this report is to outline the existing and emerging indoor location, tracking, navigation, maps apps (or the indoor LBS) market ecosystem. This report was done by combing direct market research, i.e. survey, and study of the content presented.

2. Introduction
The indoor LBS industry is believed to be a multi-billion over the next 5 years. One in four U.S. adults use LBS services. Half of those users engage with location-based advertisements on those services. The market for wireless location-based applications is expected to reach $14.5 Billion in 2014. The success of these applications will depend on the pervasive availability of the location technologies that enable them. Alternative positioning technologies are critical in addressing the limitations of GPS.

GPS has become very popular in recent years and it has widespread use in many areas such as traffic management, navigation, medical emergency services as well as location based services in wireless handsets. Owing to the latest technological advances, GPS receivers are able to locate themselves with an error of 5 meters outdoors. Although GPS positioning is very successful in outdoor areas, it is hard to decode GPS signals indoors due to the additional signal loss of 10-30 dB caused by the buildings and walls.

2.1 Uses Cases

2.1.1 Public Safety and Emergency Response
A fire-fighter can pretty easily get lost and disorientated when surrounded by smoke in the middle of the night. In like manner, GPS navigation is great, but not for working inside buildings because of the absence of line of sight to satellites, while cellular positioning methods generally fail to provide a satisfactory degree of accuracy. In most countries mobile users are the majority callers for emergency response. It's obvious that most people spend most of their time indoors, and the majority of location-based services are actually being initiated indoors or in environments where GPS fails to deliver acceptable end-user performance. Conventional GPS receivers do not work inside buildings, so that the majority of the world's commerce and social interaction is conducted indoors and thus unable to take advantage of outdoor positioning systems like GPS. The delivered position fixes cannot even be used for determining whether a target person stays inside or outside a certain building, not to mention the barrier to location represented by granularity of rooms or floors.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.2 Public Service: Elderly and the Blind
The world population of people over the age of 65 is growing rapidly at a rate of 800,000 per month. Eventually, many of these people reach a point where they can no longer live independently. Moving an elderly person into a nursing home often involves huge economic and emotional burdens.
Technology could play an important role by providing a smart environment that aids the elderly in being independent. One possibility for this environment is a “smart home.” The decision on what kind of tracking system to design is based on five key factors: cost, accuracy, size, weight, and power consumption. The system needs to be accurate within 20 cm (half the distance between shoulders, to help identify orientation); it must be light weight (less than an ounce) and small enough to place on an elderly person’s clothing.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.3 Mobile Advertising & Product Shopping
In addition to public safety inside buildings, it’s clear that shopping centers would be an advertisers’ dream if they could be plotted and mapped, allowing shops and vendors to push ads to the user’s phone as they enter a mall or walk past a store. This opens up a new dimension in advertising, because vendors would be able to push messages to people as they walked past their store, i.e., engaging with the user at the right time and place. Indoor mapping could also be useful for museums and general places of interest.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.4 Location “Check-ins”
The geo-location ‘check-in’ LBS technology has recently grown more popular thanks to the introduction of services such as Facebook and FourSquare and other applications that utilize GPS. These geo-location ‘check-in’ platforms are proving to the marketing and business world that geo-location services can be used to help drive foot traffic to brands, which is very healthy for businesses. It’s becoming a complete goldmine for marketers. One of the major benefits for businesses is that they are able to target their advertising based on check-ins. So, if you check in at a Starbucks, their advertising messages would pop up on your mobile. In addition, these LBS apps collect data about customer’s daily routines. It can track their taste in food, fashion and music; very valuable analytics. It is a marketer’s dream.

As it stands, however, geo-location check-ins will succeed in marketing in the long run only with more precise location positioning technology and a cleaner venue POI/pin database, because businesses will realize they need to reward users who actually check-in physically to a venue differently from those that check-in virtually without actually being there inside the venue.

Many critics say that Foursquare users “cheat” with their check-ins and rip off the rewards when in fact, for the most part, they never were actually inside the venue. Foursqure is interested in more mico location technology, however, is waiting for the technology to be widely available across devices and carriers.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.5 Enterprise Indoor Tracking
Indoor location, though currently expensive, is already used in some applications with high potential cost savings (e.g. tracking wafers at semiconductor fabrication plants) or high criticality (e.g. hospitals). As in many other mobile technologies (such as GPS and smartphones), consumer applications of indoor location will be the area that drives the price down and gets the technologies into mainstream acceptance. Once that happens, it's not an exaggeration to state that the impact on enterprise mobile applications will be at least as large as the impact we saw with GPS.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.6 City Guides
Museums are interested to learn about their visitors: what do they do, where do they go, how long do they stay, where do they spend their time. RFID is used for a cell-based localization of visitors in museums: visitors are carrying RFID tags, reception ranges of the RFID antennas define the localization cells. A set of applications allows mapping the floorplan of the museum, record beginning and end of a museum visit, collecting data, and visualizing the data according to the needs of the museum. Visualizations include statistical evaluations (visits per cell/room, time per cell/room) as well as reconstructions of individual paths through the museum.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.1.7 Military
Time-Space-Position Information (TSPI) systems which rely heavily on the GPS based data to locate and orient humans, ground vehicles, ground robots, and low flying air vehicles in urban environments face severe challenges when GPS radio frequency (RF) signals are attenuated or blocked due to non line of sight (NLOS) to GPS satellites. GPS signals may be degraded or completely blocked due to operation near or within manmade structures either above or below ground level. GPS RF signal reception may also be degraded by either intentional (e.g., jamming) or unintentional (e.g., multi-path reflected waves, cell phone usage) interference.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.2 Indoor Maps, Location, and Navigation
Just as giants such as Nokia (Navteq),  TomTom, and Google, have meticulously mapped outdoor areas, such as city streets, these same companies and a growing number of new companies are creating Web and mobile guides for malls, downtown walkways,  airports and other indoor places where people congregate. This is a huge undertaking, given the vast amounts of indoor space waiting to be plotted and entered into navigation databases, but significant progress is being made.

But indoor navigation isn't without problems. Indoor-mapping sites and apps often depend on GPS technology, which tends to be less dependable indoors than outdoors because of difficulty communicating with navigation satellites. Related technology, such as triangulation using cell-phone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, can be similarly imprecise. Location-based information compiled by site or app developers can quickly get out of date, too. Stores in malls are continually debuting or going out of business.

One of the biggest problems for indoor navigation is the lack of indoor mapping standards. In a road network, it is clear where paths lead but building interiors may need more attention, especially large open areas. There is also no standard for representing characteristics specific to indoor space. Rooms, stairs, elevators, and exits are some that come immediately to mind.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT.

2.2.1 Indoor Maps and Indoor POIs
Internet mapping and GPS navigation services have evolved in remarkable ways, but it's largely been an outdoors game. Finding your way on unfamiliar roads, for instance, cell phones can give you turn-by-turn directions, and in many cases, even show you a photo of your destination. Amazingly, these services are free with the purchase of some handsets, i.e. Android and WinPhone. This is all great when outdoors, but what about in a mall or airport? The mapping of vast indoor spaces is not as far along. Progress is being made, though.

The "demand is there” for indoor maps and indoor LBS. Business travelers crave a killer airport-navigation app. Companies like Yelp which provide reviews of restaurants and bars, or Milo, which points to the best deals, could do with more precise directions inside malls. Right now, the information can point consumers to the entrance of a shopping mall but won’t tell them how to find, say, the specialty cosmetics store inside it.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT.

2.2.2 Indoor Geo-Location
From cell site ID to GPS to Wi-Fi triangulation to sensors, service providers, device-makers and app developers face a complex landscape in figuring out how best to receive mobile location data — not to mention to ensure it is as accurate as possible. Precise location data and well-tested location positioning capabilities become even more important as location-based services become more mainstream and eventually revenue-producing for device, app and service providers.

The delivery of user location information has been evolving over the years and is becoming vitally important, as new smart phone devices like the iPhone and Google Android devices enable perhaps the first truly successful round of location-based services. The earliest method of location detection involved determining a person’s location relative to the cell base station they were registered to. That approach could be fairly accurate – or not at all – depending on cell density characteristics.

Next up was GPS or hybrid-GPS approaches, which use global positioning satellites to determine location. The upside is that now is a very mature technology and thanks to the latest generation of smartphones, increasingly ubiquitous. However, GPS radios can drain device batteries, and GPS signals don’t always penetrate buildings or dense areas extremely well. Attempting to do indoor location via GPS or other location-fixing technologies is hopeless because these tend to be less precise indoors. Getting a fix using navigation satellites is notoriously difficult with a lot of concrete and steel over your head.

Finally, Wi-Fi mapping and triangulation has come into play, with servers detecting where a device has logged into a Wi-Fi location (by MAC address) and then using ever-updating maps to figure out their precise location. Again, positioning by Wi-Fi is fairly accurate – though not perfect – and Wi-Fi radios like GPS have a battery cost.

America is home to the biggest malls in the world, and it makes sense to know where you are in the mall, and where you are going. In fact, 70% of cellular calls and 80% of data connections originate from indoors. This means that location-enablers should focus on helping retailers and advertisers on indoor LBS marketing and advertising where the consumers spend most of their time. To say the least, the local advertising market is estimated to be $150 Billion in the U.S. alone.

Moreover, most LBS and Navigation requests are originated indoors and precise location is central to the mobile experience. While A-GPS and SUPL improve indoor location accuracy and time-to-first-fix (TTFF), the industry is finally realizing that A-GPS doesn't reliably work for indoor use cases. A-GPS is superb at turn-by-turn navigation and other outdoor uses, but GPS' utility stops at the front door so to speak.

Indoor LBS and Navigation has to be addressed by other technologies more suited to that environment. Wi-Fi comes to mind first regarding indoor location, because Wi-Fi access points are inside many buildings. However, position accuracy depends on Wi-Fi access point density, and more importantly, since Wi-Fi access points inside buildings cannot easily be mapped (with GPS)- even though Wi-Fi signals may be measurable inside the building, the locations of the sources are unknown and practically unidentifiable. Wi-Fi position accuracy can be improved by collecting signal fingerprints and map matching, i.e. forcing the positioning results on predefined locations; however, this is a costly investment.

There have been attempts to use Bluetooth for LBS and mobile connectivity. Although other RF technologies can provide better accuracy at lower power levels, it is the ubiquity of Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices that gives it huge potential due to the potential market size. Even the latest Bluetooth specs from the Bluetooth SIG are more friendly to low-power applications, so this might finally become a reality. Unfortunately, the limitation is that the user has to have their Bluetooth switched on. This might not be a problem as the specific application can automatically turn the Bluetooth on for the user.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.2.3 Indoor Navigation
Indoor navigation is completely different than outdoor navigation, to be practical there is a need for better accuracy below 5m, well below the existing method provided today, as well as speed and easy deployment.

Sensor based positioning is also key. Inertial sensors are being deployed in mobile devices (i.e. accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometer (barometer), and allow relative positioning from known initial position. Also, inertial positioning can be used to complement other indoor positioning systems. For example, 3D-motion climbing up a staircase, steps and floor changes can easily be detected in vertical position.

The industry's worst-kept secret is that the first mobile handset to pack a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) gyroscope will roll out. Analyst speculation on the vendor has ranged from Apple (with the iPhone 4G) to HTC and ST-Ericsson, but regardless of who was first, every major smartphone vendor is predicted to follow suit by 2012.

Gyroscopes will become ubiquitous in smartphones because gyros can support new user interface modes, enhance the online gaming experience, perform indoor navigation by virtue of dead reckoning and enable augmented-reality applications that overlay information about a target when a phone's digital camera is pointed at it.

Apple iPhone opened the eyes of handset vendors to how a MEMS accelerometer could harness motion to change from portrait to landscape views. The accelerometer alone can't tell the difference between motion and gravity, but with the addition of a gyro you can immediately sense the onset of motion, making the user interface more responsive and free from artifacts.

The main applications for the parts in smartphones will be in combination with an accelerometer followed by uses for image stabilization and “dead-reckoning” for in-vehicle navigation units. By 2012, consumers will begin seeing gyroscopes used for more indoor navigation, paired with an accelerometer, compass and pressure sensor for floor accuracy.

The overall MEMS gyroscope market, the bulk of which is for image stabilization in digital cameras,  rose from $447 million in 2009 to more than $763 million in 2012. Others predict that the worldwide market for MEMS gyroscopes in mobile handsets will rise from zero last year to $38 million this year and more than $70 million by 2012.

Global unit shipments of gyroscopes in mobile handsets are expected to rise to 285.9 million in 2014, up from 26 million in 2010 and from zero in 2009. The market for gyroscopes in mobile handsets is forecast to grow by 150% between 2010 and 2011. The forecasts show that annual shipments of gyroscopes in mobile handsets will increase to over 200 million by 2014, capturing over one third of the smartphone market.

Early use cases for gyroscopes in mobile handsets have been games (i.e. ngmoco) that also leverage the presence of an accelerometer to sense motion along 6 axes. The 6 axis motion sensing gyroscopes and accelerometers make more sophisticated use cases possible as well. Motion sensors will play a role in indoor navigation in places where a GPS signal can’t provide high enough accuracy; the presence of an accelerometer and gyroscope would allow a device to effectively sense your steps and their direction. The hope among market players is to provide accurate location data within 1 meter. The market is still years from developing the algorithms required to accurately process or the maps detailed enough to utilize the sensor data, but there is obviously enormous interest in the topic. If the business model for indoor location based services is solidified, it is expected the technological hurdles will be overcome

Location-based augmented reality and user interface innovations are some of the other expected applications of gyroscopes in mobile handsets noted by Schreck.

The future of indoor positioning is going to be a hybrid solution consisting of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, RFID tags, sensors, etc. Increasingly, location is determined by a combination of all those approaches, with fall-back from one to another when radios aren’t turned on or a particular positioning approach fails. More industry convergence and consolidation is expected to come.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

2.2.4 Indoor Geo-Location Comparison
GPS services work poorly or not at all indoors. Errors of hundreds of meters horizontally, and even larger errors vertically, are common due to weak satellite signals that are attenuated and reflected by buildings and walls. Given these inherent drawbacks of GPS, LBS manufacturers have experimented with hybrid solutions in which GPS is augmented by cellular, WiFi access point (AP), and U-TDOA signals.

But these additional signals bring their own sets of problems. Cellular triangulation is frustrated by small cell sizes and poor signal penetration. WiFi AP service radius is tiny. Many APs are unknown; relatively few are accurately logged. Unlicensed, undocumented, and movable APs cause serious AP database errors. A disorganized infrastructure such as this is unacceptable for LBS and Public Safety uses. Further, achievable measurement accuracy with WiFi is poor: volunteers log AP locations casually at best, and location measurement is performed using coarse proximity sensing. U-TDOA augmentation also is inherently inaccurate, and in addition may require costly cellular network hardware upgrades.

These hybrid designs essentially are an attempt to improve GPS accuracy through use of additional location information obtained from other signal sources.

Unfortunately, hybrid designs are fragile since they are only as strong as the weakest link; all elements of a hybrid design must work in order to improve upon raw GPS accuracy. And, of course, hybrid designs are still dependent upon reception of at least some GPS satellite signals which, as stated previously, can be a significant challenge indoors. Even under clear-sky outdoor reception conditions, GPS receivers typically operate with only a very small 5-8 dB signal margin.

In addition to its indoor and urban service limitations, GPS is known to be vulnerable to spoofing, jamming and service disruptions. Cellular service is also considered vulnerable to disruption from natural disasters and terrorist-type attacks directed against its single-point failure weaknesses. For these and other reasons, the United States government considers GPS and cellular networks to be secondary, rather than primary, systems for use under emergency conditions.

MORE DETAILS IN REPORT

3. Companies

3.1 Company 1

3.2 Company 2

3.3 …


Questions about the Market Report? Email Tristian E. Lacroix, Managing Director, tristian@indoorLBS.com