Category Archives: Indoor Technology and Innovation

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-indoor-ibeacon-navigation-proximity-presentation-usibc-brett-reisman

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:

SPREO Technology Featured in Israeli News Program

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The SPREO WayfindR mobile navigation application has been live in Carmel Hospital in Israel, a part of the Clalit Health Services System for a couple months now.  In early March, Clalit made a large announcement about this innovative new service for visitors to the hospital.  You can read all about that in the English version of the press release, available here: spreo.co/press.

The Israeli news covered the story, and we have provided an English translation of the news segment, which you can view below:

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