GPS · Wifi

Indoor Geolocation technology??

Chandra Jacobs

April 20th, 2013

I am trying to do very accurate indoor geolocation, and building a product (tripchi) to help people engage with brands in airports in new and interesting ways. I was wondering what technologies people are using to do accurate indoor geo within 20 feet...or if there are significant limitations that I need to go about.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

April 20th, 2013

Hi Chandra.  I looked at indoor positioning last year and it's not quite as developed as one would hope - especially on iOS because of highly-restrictive Apple policies on wifi scanning.  Most vendors seem to require professional services to implement (Meridian, Wifarer, etc.) and I'd be wary of creating dependence on relatively expensive technologies that will undoubtedly be built into Android and iOS within a year.

Apple just bought wifislam which had a good Android solution (~ 3 meter resolution) and were working on an iOS solution (~ 5 meter resolution) but I'm sure (a) Android version will get killed, (b) iOS version will get a lot better and (c) it'll find its way into iOS7 (maybe 90% sure on this one).

Clearly with the acquisition, Apple isn't going to relax their restrictions.  There are other approaches but most of them require the site to adopt hardware (e.g., lighting systems) and that's a slog.

Soooooo, it really depends how time-critical this is to you and how much precision you really need.  20 feet is kind of between GPS and IPS... can you get by with GPS inside of airports which assumedly have good coverage?  Do your own analysis, but my gut tells me that by the time you actually integrated an existing solution (at significant cost), you'll see it baked into the os/devices.

As an aside, I spent a ton of time thinking (and some implementing) location-based offer systems... I'd be happy to give you a brain dump.

Chandra Jacobs

April 28th, 2013

Thanks everyone for your help on this query. It will take me some time to unpack all of this, but I'll post progress reports as I make them :)

John Rodley Technical co-founder with exits

April 20th, 2013

Look at these guys http://www.ekahau.com/.  We used them all the way back in 2005 and it was good enough to trigger a museum AV presentation on a windows mobile phone when the user approached a particular exhibit.

Paul Lambert Director Engineering at Marvell

April 29th, 2013

BLE has several companies with potential offerings ... nice low power solution.  WI-Fi has new emerging work with both position and low power proximity discovery that will emerge in a year.  COuld be very interesting ... not just RF proximity.  TIme of flight for Wi-Fi is also emerging (much more accurate) ... possible partner opportunities with handset manufacturers.

There's also some 802.11u based access point venue information delivery techniques that large vendors are pushing.  Location servers and enabled  APs are available.

BLE is the nearest term solution ... WI-Fi will have considerable advantages next year.

Paul

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

April 20th, 2013

I was at a client (large storage and retrieval company) and they embed regular intervals with RFID. This allows for cheap and fast ability to locate approximate locations and then get more specific to the pallet or shelf level via either manual labeling or technology -- this varied by the economics of the specific facility and materials stored. Sent from my iPad

Ken Woodruff Software Architect

April 20th, 2013

Assuming that we're talking about locating a mobile phone the only other widely available tech besides WIFi is Bluetooth,  particularly LE/4.0/Smart.  If you had a sufficiently large set of Bluetooth beacons with well known locations you should be able to triangulate pretty effectively based on relative signal strengths received at the phone.

Christian Fritz

April 20th, 2013

http://www.senionlab.com/ is one solution. I know the founder/CEO.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

April 24th, 2013

Hello Chandra,

To know more about the current limitations on indoor positioning you can read the following:

http://www.mollejuo.com/?p=333

Regarding companies, these are the one I know exist:
  • Meridian: It works, however they're quite expensive to use.
  • Qubulus: One of the best I've seen, however they seem to have thrown the towel. If you have success contacting them, let us know.
  • Indoors: Is quite new, apparently their process for gathering indoor information is straightforward, I can't confirm.
Let us know ow it went for you please.

Cheers,
Joanan

Sean Murphy Consulting Data Scientist

April 21st, 2013

To my limited knowledge, you can map out the locations of indoor wifi networks and use signal strength of each to get a relatively accurat(ish) measurement.

Charlie Younghusband CEO at Field.Direct

April 20th, 2013

reelyActive, fresh out of the FounderFuel accelerator, is a startup focused in this space.  Contact them at http://www.reelyactive.com/