Sunday, 28 July 2013

Next BIG Thing - Indoor Location-Based Services

In the Enterprise Wireless Market - Indoor Location-Based Services ( ILBS ) has been a buzz word in the last 12 months. With the recent acquisitions by Cisco - Think Smart Technologies , Apple - WiFiSLAM ( $20M ) , Aruba Networks - Meridian Apps and the recent Ruckus Wireless - YFind Technologies.


Typical Use Case of Indoor Location Based Services at an Airport
Source: research.nokia.com 
Not that, these BIG Guns are not capable of developing apps based on ILBS, its the competition which brings an added advantage to these start up's in this niche market space.

On the technology front, ILBS comes into play where GPS signal is inadequate due to various causes including multipath and WIFI takes precedence .



Source:University of Maine


This localization technique used for positioning with Wireless Access Points ( WAP ) is based on measuring the intensity of the received signal strength.The accuracy depends on the number of positions that have been entered into the database. 


On the downside, the possible signal fluctuations due to high noise floor or interference that may occur can increase errors and inaccuracies in the path of the user. To minimize fluctuations in the received signal, there are certain techniques that can be applied to filter the noise / interference.


Each company uses different techniques/algorithms to locate the user, the common method where they create a map of signal strength values from a each Wireless Access Point  and recording signal strength at all discrete points which make up the building floor space.


User can be located with an estimation accuracy of 2 meters and the best part is that one doesnt need any external hardware/sensor - for tracking to be installed at the site other than the existing wireless infrastructure . 


There's also a need for content management server which can either deployed in the cloud or at the site which has the floor maps, analytics and other configuration information related to the site.


Here are some places one can use ILBS


  •  Navigation inside buildings- shopping malls, hospitals, airports, industrial facilities, mines.
  • Location Based Services specially for shopping malls / super markets
  •    - Special offers alerts
  •    - Coupons
  •    - Sweep stakes
  •    - Time management alert
  •  Find your buddy (friends, project groups, school classes etc.)
  •  Workforce solutions (personnel)
  •  Security (evacuation, calamities)
  •  Alarms and alerts (know where your colleagues are)
  •  Alarm applications in general
  •  Store usage analysis and store optimization
  •  Statistics, Tracking & Tracing
  •  Hotels
  •  Gaming
  •  Energy Management; climate control and lighting control system
  •  Audio visual info (museums)


Here are some of the companies that provide Indoor / Outer Location Based services and you might never know who might get lucky sooner or later !!





indoo.rs is a mobile SDK that enables you to get real-time position and navigation updates indoors. Your mobile app can now locate and navigate inside buildings!

The indoo.rs solution uses a combination of Wi-Fi custom fingerprinting algorithms tuned for handheld devices, sensor fusion (if available), Bluetooth, in addition to dead-reckoning navigation algorithms to provide the most accurate, real-time positioning information to any application. It provides 95% accuracy at at least 15 feet (5 meters) without additional onsite hardware.


Navizon, Inc. is a pioneer and leading provider of location-based services, bringing over 10 years of experience to the marketplace. Its products include Navizon One and Navizon Indoor Triangulation System (I.T.S.).

With a global community of over 1 million users, Navizon sponsors a popular crowdsourcing and rewards program to promote its viral growth.
Initially known as Mexens Technology, Navizon was founded by a team from the Internet Protocol geolocation market. Its founder and CEO, Cyril Houri, was founder and CEO of Infosplit, a provider of IP address geolocation services started in 1999 that was acquired in 2004.


Skyhook is the leading provider of location positioning, context and intelligence worldwide. Skyhook developed the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS). Taking advantage of the hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi access points throughout populated areas, WPS consistently provides accurate location information indoors and in urban areas.

Skyhook Wireless obtained tremendous overnight growth in January 2008 at the Macworld Conference & Expo, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone and iPod touch would use their Wi-Fi Positioning System as the location engine for Google Maps and other applications.


Pole Star's - NAO Campus®, the Pole Star indoor positioning solution, is based on a unique hybrid technology combining Wi-Fi, GPS, Blue tooth low energy (BLE), MEMS (motion sensors) and map data.

Compatible with iPhone and Android, which together account for 80% of the Smartphone market, NAO Campus® is the most mature, highest performing indoor positioning service available with over 43 million square feet of indoor coverage worldwide.



SenionLab is a an expert company focusing on research and development of signal processing and sensor fusion systems for indoor positioning navigation and mapping.

SenionLab introduces an indoor navigation technology which radically improves navigation capabilities in environments where GPS systems are unavailable. SenionLab provides a pedestrian indoor navigation system intend to work in indoor environment such as shopping malls, governamental institutions, universities, hospitals, museums and airports. The indoor navigation solution is delivered as a separate software module together with a fully documented Application Programming Interface (API) that can be integrated into third-party iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android location based mobile applications. Navigation and positioning is based only on the sensors available on the mobile device. No additional hardware is required besides the mobile device for navigation and positioning.

Sensewhere emerged a result of pioneering technology developed by a team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh.The team was later joined by commercial experts from leading technology companies, such as CSR, in order to found sensewhere in 2005.
Sensewhere’s pure software technology enables precise location information, with no additional infrastructure,in areas where there is no or inaccurate GPS satellite data such as indoors or in tight urban areas. 

Sources: All company profiles sourced from Crunchbase