Any business leader knows that keeping up with technological advances is necessary in order to stay competitive. One of the most exciting advancements in recent years has been the development of Bluetooth indoor positioning systems.
The standard workplace has been experiencing a bit of a revolution in recent years. With a focus on flexibility, innovation, collaboration, workspace efficiency, and technology, in particular indoor navigation technology, many major companies have started making some serious changes in the way they do business. As a reflection of these changes in workplace practices, corporate solutions for the nature of office design has also been shifting. Read More
Imagine that it’s July 3rd and you are on your home from work. You still need to make a last minute shopping trip to get ready for your 4th of July BBQ. You step into the mall look left, right and realize holy smokes! Where do I get patriotic table runners… lawn games… and a pair of red, white and blue sunglasses before the mall closes?
One answer for you: multi-point trip planner. Read More
It was a routine part of our conversations when we first moved in together. I had lived here my whole life, while my wife grew up in a different city.
Me: What do you see to your right?
Her: A three-story building with the third floor painted red.
Me: Okay… so to your left do you see a grocery store?
Me: Great. Continue straight and turn left at the traffic light. You’ll see a barbershop. Turn right a few feet after and you’re there!
While it might seem comical now, she called me everyday for years as she searched for and navigated to various destinations – which was a necessary part of her job. It was both a part of the routine and a daily struggle. This was in the pre-smartphone and navigation software era. And though we no longer use Mapscos (remember those?) or impossible-to-fold streetmaps, for most of us the challenge of navigation is still an intrinsic part of our daily routines: which subway to take, which bus, which hallway, which floor, where’s the bathroom, and so on.
These days, this type of context-based navigation directions is still common when talking to someone familiar with the area. What I’ve discovered is that these same contextual signifiers are in fact the most effective navigation directions even when using a navigation application instead of talking to a friend or family member. So we’ve integrated this type of instruction into the SPREO live, step-by-step indoor navigation technology. Whether you’re in a shopping mall, super market, hospital, or any large venue, you get intuitive, landmark-based signifiers that ensure you won’t get lost. (And don’t worry, if you do our route auto-correction will get you back on track!)
There’s a bright future ahead for indoor navigation in venues. With the technology SPREO has developed, we believe that we can utilize existing and scale-able infrastructure to empower seamless outdoor-to-indoor and indoor-to-outdoor navigation that will reduce stress, increase operational efficiencies, and elevate visitor experience for everyone. Not to mention thanks to the technology we develop and while thinking about our loved ones we are continually improving indoor navigation capabilities while integrating outdoor navigation structures over the years. Plus, our tech works where satellite GPS (the signals that power Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, etc.) doesn’t.
The ability to precisely locate your point of interest and take you there along the shortest navigation path is just the beginning. With positioning accuracy, you can serve precise location-based content (everything from streaming video to display ads to coupons), gather useful data about user behavior, and empower visitors to experience venues in completely new ways.
In 2012, a senior Google executive issued an apology to Apple inc. expressing his regret in not warning Apple that mapping and navigation aren’t easy.
The sarcastic apology came in light of the widely regarded failed launch of Apple Maps, the outdoor navigation and mapping application which Apple released with the launch of iPhone 5 and the iOS6 operating system. Evidently, outdoor navigation is not easy.
Furthermore, I would like to say to this Google executive: if you think outdoor navigation is hard, try to map and navigate indoors. It’s an even more elusive challenge. In this series, we describe the challenges and how SPREO has solved them.
Chapter 1: Finding extremely accurate location
In order to accurately navigate indoors you need positioning accuracy of about 2 meters or better. 2 meters or better allows you to take into account the small frame work of an indoor space. For example it allows you to differentiating between the entrances of two different stores, detect the floor the user is on, and find your car in the parking lot.
Existing outdoor navigation and mapping applications use the Global Positioning Systems (GPS). GPS is a great technology, available in all smartphone devices, and it is successful in navigating and finding locations worldwide. On its best day, GPS has an accuracy of about 5 meters, and sometimes as large as 15 meters, which is clearly over the 2 meters needed for indoor positioning. Accuracy aside, it turns out that GPS cannot even work indoors.
In response, developers have turned to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sensors to find indoor location. With this comes a separate set of challenges, most obvious of which is that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology were built to transfer data, not to show location. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to find that these sensors do not inherently provide accurate location. Manipulating Wi-FI and Bluetooth sensors to work for you in finding location is the first step in achieving accurate indoor location.
This is only the first challenge for those brave enough to take on indoor navigation.
Want to know the next challenge? Wait to read our next post.
– The SPREO development team