The GIS Lens
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Indoor Location: the mobile revolution starts now
June 6th, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Christian Carle, CEO and founder of Pole Star
The future of mobile location-based services lies in its rapid adoption of indoor technologies
For more than 20 years, the use of global positioning system, or GPS, has been the gold standard for outdoor navigation. The satellite-based navigation system has become the indispensable tool for anyone to determine their location outside of a building, in a car, on motorways, in the street…
More recently, cell-phone manufacturers have added GPS capabilities to mobile devices which in turn, created new opportunities for existing location-based services (LBS) such as mapping and navigation. While the quick rise of smartphones, and the easy access to more context-aware information, has changed forever the way people live, travel and shop.
But as we rely even more on our smartphone for everyday life, the physical limitations of GPS, which doesn’t work in indoor environments or between tall buildings in dense urban areas, are becoming a real challenge for the next generation of LBS applications. Simply put, for GPS to work, it requires a clear view of the sky, where a receiver has an unobstructed line of sight to satellites, meaning that all the mobile location-based apps, like navigation for example, won’t work indoors, inside airports, malls, museums, subways, etc., which is where we actually need them the most, as we spend a majority of our time indoor. It also happens that 80% of smartphone usage is done inside buildings, making an even stronger case for bringing location technologies indoor.
So, it shouldn’t come to a surprise then, that, indoor location has gained a huge market traction in the past 2 years. First, in professional environments, with employees or equipment location services where indoor location improved efficiency and security. But also, in the broad consumer market where context-aware services have become a key differentiator to interact and engage with potential customers, as they get closer to a retail store, for example. Analyst firm ABI research predicts that by 2017, the indoor location technology market will reach $5 billion in revenues, represent over 200,000 installations of infrastructure equipment, including Wi-Fi hotspots, Bluetooth antennas, etc., and over 800 million branded applications downloads.
Indoor location technology has become such a huge market that it is actually bigger than its outdoor counterpart, if you include commercial buildings, where it helps consumers find their way to a store or to an item on their shopping list and much more. After the huge success of GPS, indoor location is today the next killer technology, reinventing the location services industry market, mobile advertising, app development and the entire mobile ecosystem itself. Indoor location is a true revolution that cannot be ignored anymore and paves the way for new and innovative services that will enable a smooth end-to-end user experience (from outdoor to indoor and vice-versa), better security, improved productivity and efficiency of mobile tools, and much more…
From early adopters to a mature market
In 2012, the indoor location market has finally reached maturity, overcoming its main technological barriers which drove, for the first time in its history, large scale deployments at airports, museums and malls. Here are the key milestones that made the tipping point actually happen:
Indoor location promising use cases
Although the main purpose of indoor location is to assist users navigating within buildings such as airports, malls or exhibit centres, it also opens the gate for an innovation frenzy, creating new location-based applications, while improving existing ones, such as customer analytics, store optimization, proximity advertising, couponing, and CRM. And below are just some of the advanced applications that our customers are implementing.
Indoor location brings e-commerce to the real world
In a digital world, where “show rooming” becomes the norm – with shoppers coming into a store to look for a product, then checks the price online and eventually buys it from a website – retailers are struggling to find ways to compete with e-commerce sites. Which, for years, were able to precisely target customers using advanced behavior marketing analysis and targeted messaging, with keywords and clics technologies.
However, indoor location has disrupted the status-quo, giving back to brick-and-mortars retailers the upper hand over digital commerce. With indoor location technologies it is now possible to know when a customer is inside a building, just like an e-commerce website knows when an Internet user is on its homepage. Store owners are now able to offer unique incentives to shoppers, bringing a strong value add component to their digital and CRM strategy. This enables a more efficient location-based marketing, sending consumers the right message, at the right place, at the right time, finally bringing e-commerce to the real world, in real time.
But linking the real and online worlds is literally just the tip of the iceberg, as indoor location technologies are forever impacting the way we live, shop, travel and interact with traditional and online commerce. Just like GPS started the location-based revolution, more than 20-years ago, Pole Star and the rest of the indoor location industry are about to do it all over again. Don’t be left behind!
About Pole Star
Pole Star, created in 2002 and based in Europe (France -Toulouse & Paris) and the United States (Palo Alto, California), is the pioneer and world leader in indoor location. Pole Star mission is to deliver high performance, scalable and long lasting quality of service to venue owners or mobile solution providers anywhere in the world. With over 43 million square feet covered by NAO Campus in 15 different countries, Pole Star already has an impressive customer portfolio including airports, malls, department stores, convention centers and museums. Pole Star relies on extensive and trusted worldwide partner network to propose a complete range of end-to-end solutions integrating Pole Star’s flagship product, NAO Campus.
In 2012, Gartner ranked Pole Star as one of the most promising companies in the indoor location market (“Competitive Landscape: Indoor Positioning Technologies”, Annette Zimmerman, November 8th 2012).
Tags: Indoor mapping