SPREO Demonstrated Indoor Location & Navigation at Location & Context World Tradeshow Event

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SPREO sponsored the first-of-its-kind tradeshow event specializing and focusing on indoor location-based services, technology and applications. This was a two day event that was attended by industry leaders and influencers around trending topics such as iBeacons, location-based notifications, brand mobile engagement best practices and more. The packed days included lectures, panels and sessions devoted to exploring the ins and outs of Location and Context. SPREO was a premier sponsor and also demonstrated our location solution, which is currently implemented in shopping centers and hospitals around the world.

Another attendee was WalMart, and Wendy Bergh, VP of Walmart eCommerce, stated the success that their team has seen with in-store location-based features to customers to help improve the shopping experience.

“Walmart launched the new Search My Store feature on iPhone and Android this fall. Search My Store allows customers to search their local store to find out the price, location and availability of merchandise. Walmart was also first to market with Store Mode in 2012, which used geo-fencing to provide a unique in-store experience to customers via the App.”

Bergh was also excited to “learn from other leaders in the mobile space on how they are using location to better service their customers.”

David Montoya, CEO and Co-Founder of Satisfi, was another panel leader who pointed out that one of the biggest challenges in the LBS space is “developing solutions (via apps and software platforms) that actually solve the issues that consumers face. Just because you can build something doesn’t mean it solves a need of the consumer in a location/context-aware scenario.”

These were two great examples of industry leaders focusing on the challenges that consumers face, and how location-based services can solve these issues while empowering customers with a mobile solution in the palm of their hand. It is this same thinking that drives SPREO and our platform that includes features like ‘Blue Dot’ indoor navigation, Find My Friends indoors, Save My Parking Spot, location-based notifications management, interactive maps and directories.

We also heard from Natasha Léger, Editor LBx Journal & President, The Location Forum, whose organization coined a term we hadn’t heard before, Locationomics, “which is the use of location data about people, places, assets and situations by businesses and organizations to enable them to save time and money, operate more efficiently, better serve existing and future customers, and identify new product and service opportunities.”

We couldn’t agree more with Natasha’s view, and we feel that SPREO’s value proposition intrinsically consists of the many ways that we enable venues and their visitors to function and engage more fluidly and intuitively while saving time, money and headaches.

SPREO Selected as a Finalist at the Citi Mobile Challenge U.S. 2014

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citi-mobile-challenge With SPREO technology live in several malls, hospitals and office buildings around the world, we approached the Citi Mobile Challenge U.S. 2014 as an opportunity to demonstrate our technology and its many valuable benefits and use cases in the ‘FinTech’ (Finance technology) sector.

Our submission was CILE, Customer Identification and Local Engagement, a BLE-based SDK location platform that provides bank staff and visitors with account information and contextual information to enrich the banking experience and increase efficiencies.

CILE-customer-screen Each teller, equipped with a license and integration of the CILE SDK on their corporate mobile device, tablet or computer, would receive location-based notifications and customer information in real-time. This mobile solution empowers local bank tellers to offer the best customer service in the world and provides several competitive advantages. In our mind, the solution is relevant to banking, casinos, hotels, clubs… any venue that has customers and benefits from a customer-centric and personalized concierge app.

A panel of entrepreneurs, investors and leaders in technology and banking reviewed our submission and selected SPREO as a finalist. There were three demonstration events: Silicon Valley on Nov. 10, New York on Nov. 12, and Miami on Nov. 14. SPREO presented at the New York City demo at a venue just minutes from our lower midtown headquarters.

Jorge Ruiz, Business Development and Digital Banking Head for Citi Latin America, spearheaded the Citi Mobile Challenges, and remarked, “The competitors have infused our organization with innovative ideas in both the Consumer and Corporate Banking areas, which will be at the forefront of mobile banking innovation. Their contributions have the potential to impact millions around the world, and we look forward to continue working with each of them over the coming months.”

Jorge Rubio, Inclusive Finance & Microfinance Head for Citi Latin America added, “Digital technologies and mobile channels have enormous potential to expand financial inclusion across markets. We couldn’t be happier with the results because many of the solutions presented can help us better serve our institutional clients as they expand the outreach in their supply and distribution chains, while at the same time contributing to the development of more inclusive financial systems.”

SPREO is proud to be awarded as a finalist in the competition, after hundreds of submissions were reviewed, and we want to thank Jorge and everyone at Citibank for the great opportunity and experience.

Citi is offering a total of $100,000 in prizes, with $50,000 being awarded to the most Innovative Mobile Solution and $50,000 given to the best Internet of Things/Wearable idea. The finalists that are selected will also be invited to conduct a commercial relationship with the bank and may even be able to implement their concepts into Citi’s partner accelerator programs.

 

SPREO to Provide Indoor Navigation and Location Based Services to Englewood Hospital & Medical Center

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We are proud to announce that Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey has selected SPREO to to implement indoor navigation and location based services.

The solution ensures that patients and visitors at Englewood Hospital will be able to navigate seamlessly through the large complex. Users will be able to search for their destinations in a variety of ways, including text input, voice search, QR code scanning and category-based browsing.  Users then receive step-by-step dynamic navigation with live positioning using visual, voice, and augmented reality modes to ensure they find their way.

Contextual Signifiers in Directions Make Navigation Easier

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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?

Her: Yes!

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!) maze

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.

Indoor Navigation Challenges Series – Chapter 1: Finding an accurate location indoors

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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

Applying Sensor Fusion in Indoor Positioning Prediction Algorithms

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Most modern cellular phones and tablets come with numerous sensors. You probably already know about WiFi and Bluetooth and use them everyday, but there are others as well.

For example, current smart devices come with built-in accelerometer, barometer, magnetic sensor and directional sensor. While these devices help fitness apps and the compass do their jobs, the patent-pending SPREO indoor positioning algorithm incorporates these signals for accurate and dynamic indoor position definition. We call it sensor fusion, and we use these additional sensors in addition to Bluetooth Low Energy beacons (“iBeacons”) and Wi-Fi to get accuracy to better than a meter.

The sensor fusion approach does create a unique set of challenges. For example, there is a chance for “accumulated error.” Most people vary their gait (“average step size”) and meander slightly instead of walking a true straight path, especially when talking through crowded hallways and stairs.

We have created a set of discernment rules to interpret the sensors input values and determine whether a step was actually taken in a certain direction or it was just “noise” (irrelevant data inputs). Consider for example how sensor data points would fluctuate if a person was talking with their hands while holding their phone. Another practical example is more subtle and technical: many environments have electrical magnetic resonance which can generate environmental ‘noise’ (data fluctuations).

The correct approach is ultimately a sophisticated algorithm that strategically integrates all available and applicable sensors on smart devices. The key to sensor fusion is to correct and minimize errors in order to achieve accurate position prediction.

We’ve taken indoor location with sensor fusion a step further by developing machine learning algorithms that analyze user behavior and environmental conditions. As a result, our proprietary methodology today provides positioning accuracy under a meter.

SPREO Presents at Tech Startup Showcase in Jersey City

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Steve Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City; Brett Reisman, Director of Marketing of SPREO

Steve Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City; Brett Reisman, Director of Marketing of SPREO

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and the New York Consulate General of Israel Ido Aharoni invited SPREO and seven other promising Israeli companies to present at a tech showcase in Jersey City last week.

SPREO’s indoor navigation system exemplifies the innovative energy of the newest generation of technology, and it was featured in local news source the The impressing attendees and gaining the attention of regional news sources The Jersey Standard and NJ.com. Like many of the other products featured at the showcase, SPREO’s technology originated in Israel.

Avi Sacajiu, CEO of SPREO, described how the navigation system was first used in a hospital in Haifa, Israel, and how it is poised to become an instrumental technology in many venues in the United States. Not only was the high caliber of the startups at the showcase evident, but the dynamic quality of transnational tech is always creative and inspiring.

SPREO was excited by the energy around Israeli technology and happy to present on how our indoor location technology and products to the Jersey City audience. Our technology is not only useful in venues like hospitals and shopping centers; it also provides tremendous value to municipalities and public transportation systems.

iOS 8 Blog Series Chapter 1: What is Swift Programming Language?

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In the first of our series on Apple’s new iOS 8, we begin by looking at Swift, the new programming language. Future blog posts will focus on Location Services, HealthKit and Home Kit.

Apple has introduced the new versions of its operating systems for desktop (OS-X Yosemite) and mobile (iOS 8) devices.

In general it seams that the focus on these releases is the improvement of connectivity and interoperability, creating an environment in which a user can seamlessly transition an activity from one device to the next within the iOS ecosystem. With this, all user devices are up to date with work done on the other devices. So one can continue work / see any thing started on one device be dynamically updated on an other device.  For example, start an email or phone call on your iPad and conclude it on your iPhone.

For SPREO, there are other new features and aspects that are very interesting. The First is Sprite, a new programming language.

Swift

Apple has introduced Swift, a new object language similar to Java or Ruby on Rails.

According to exposed performance benchmarks, it is doing a very good job compared to Ruby or Objective-C. It appears that Apple is pushing hard for developers to extensively use Swift. We estimate that in two years from now Swift will dominate new programming code.

How does that relate to SPREO?

Our current SDK, API and white-label application are built in Objective – C.  In the long term outlook, we predict that all of our customers will want to use a Swift based SDK/API/White-label.   In the short term, we will continue to work on and improve the current build which is in Objective – C (we continue to innovate, add features, and improve constantly). At the same time, we have already started to work with Swift and plan to have full Swift based framework in the future.

SPREO Wins Innovation Excellence Award in Israel

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Clalit-award

May 27th, 2014 – Airport City, Israel

SPREO and our client Clalit Health Services were recipients of the 2014 Award for Excellence in a Project by the Chamber of Information Technology and Innovation.  The Conference for the Chamber of Information Technology and Innovation is an annual event that celebrates, embraces, and encourages technical innovation across industries.

Multiple speakers from around Israel presented innovative technology and how it leads to advancements in industry and the workforce. Speakers included professionals and academics from a wide range of specialties. For example, one presenter described how IBM supercomputer technology will pave new pathways for innovation in hospitals and healthcare through more accessible and affordable DNA testing.

This year was the 20th anniversary of the event. Considered a very prestigious event, there were only three awards given: prizes to two academic projects as well as the one we received for excellence in industry.

SPREO Featured at the United States Israel Business Council Tech Roadshow

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SPREO joined 7 other tech start-ups with Israeli roots at the USIBC Tech Roadswhow last week, hosted at 7 World Trade Center by Silver Suites. There were over 225 entrepreneurs, executives and investors in the audience, and SPREO’s Director of Marketing, Brett Reisman, presented a demo and pitch about our innovative and superior indoor navigation technology. He also conveyed the vision and ambition that SPREO plans for the future of indoor location based services, including a unified platform and SDK for enterprises, agencies and developers.

To view Brett’s Presentation, see below:

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