Interest in IPS, Indoor Positioning Services has been growing in recent years as the widespread adoption of GPS enabled devices has made outdoor localization ubiquitous to all users. Users in turn are maturing an understanding of how powerful and valuable localization is in many applications, and started pushing to extend the reach of localization to all sorts of applications, most of which are in indoor settings – a normal consequence of the basic fact that we all spend 90% of our time indoor – which are poorly serviced by GPS-based localization.
“We face a challenge with the lack of a standard to refer to and of technology understanding from customers”
Many technologies have been developed and indeed successfully used to solve this basic need, most of them though are based on extensive and costly installations of hardware that makes them employable only in the few cases where there is a crystal-clear return on investment.
The wider IPS potential market is still waiting for solutions that are able to cut down the cost/performance tradeoff entailed by solutions already in the market, enabling applications that have clear value propositions but need to work at a lower price point.
At GiPStech we developed an IPS technology that is poised to accommodate the needs of a large portion of this latent market: our core technology leverages both advanced sensor fusion (with a Pedestrian Dead Reckoning deemed state-of-art by technology companies) and geomagnetic fingerprinting. In short, we are able to understand in real time how a user is moving in the space and match it with a free and always on map of signal to reach high precision (1 meter on average), at high level of service, with no infrastructure apart from the cheap sensors already on board on smartphones. To further increase the IPS level of service especially on large venues, we also integrated Wi-Fi and BLE signal in our localization platform, therefore not only delivering to market something superior but also matching what most other players are proposing.
In our approach to the market – now consisting of hundreds of use cases – we noticed of course some naivety, with many potential customers’ expectations spoiled by the experience of smartphone GPS-based localization services: free and available at any time and conditions. Indeed, we found this to be the biggest hurdle in implementing indoor positioning: fi ltering out the naïve requests of wellintentioned prospects and fi nding those applications where the need is so urgent that the potential customer cannot simply sit and wait for the “magic solution” to happen (provided of course for free by the Google of this world).
We are finding these applications in many specific verticals, broadly divisible in two fields: where the customer needs to provide an outstanding service to the final users of its facilities to distinguish itself from a though competition (as in museums) and where the customer has a clear business case to implement (as in internal logistic optimization, maintenance tracking, at-risk patients monitoring, etc.) to save costs or increment productivity.
Another problem we constantly face has to do with the lack of a standard in the field. Most of IPS provider communication and consequently of prospective customer attention focuses on precision of localization, while this is only one metric (although important) that influences the outcome of a good implementation: stability, responsiveness, lag time and computation power required are some of the other important factors that should be considered in determining what is the best solution to the specific use case. In short, as typical of early stage technologies, we face a challenge with the lack of a standard to refer to and of technology understanding from customers.
We are nonetheless convinced that these obstacles will naturally drop over time, and in particular that will emerge the technical superiority of our solution: a strong platform for IPS that combines multiple approaches – from inertial to geomagnetic to BLE – to provide the best performances in all applications.
Published on mycoordinates.org. an exclusive monthly magazine on positioning, navigation, associated technologies and applications. It focuses on LBS/GPS/GALILEO/GLONASS/ and other GNSS systems. It also covers related technologies and applications like Mapping, Surveying, Cartography, Timing etc. It also highlights GIS, Remote Sensing, LIDAR, Photogrammetry etc and their applications.