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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

GeoMetri for indoor/outdoor location analytics

December 16th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Michael Healander, Director of the GISi Indoors business unit, a part of GISi, a 22-year-old location technology company, talked about the GISi Indoors product GeoMetri released in July 2013.

GeoMetri is an analytical tool for indoor/outdoor physical space that operates on WiFi technologies, similar to the website tool Google Analytics. It provides the same analytical data for either indoor or outdoor

Cell phones give off a signal (ping) when you keep your wifi or Bluetooth on, said Healander. These bits of information (including signal strength) can be collected and anonymously aggregated for use in physical analytics. While other signal technologies are available (e.g. Bluetooth), wifi gives the best value in terms of availability, deployment, scalability, and security to  customers. GeoMetri sends out a signal asking is there any wifi in area every few seconds. “It hits some of our sensors, called tri-lateration, and it detects where it came from and creates a point for it, so you know where they are.”

With GeoMetri, you can create zones, then measure when people walk into a store or office space or walk by. It highlights how many people visit a particular room, per hour, per year, how many people go to the jewelry section, or technology session, or grocery store. Organizations can benchmark where they go, and the foot traffic, “so we have a map as a visualizer to keep track of how people flow,  and we can create heat maps of where people are congregating,” said Healander.

For a restaurant, for example, there’s a dashline, what’s called the “capture zone,” where you can see how many people are walking by, driving by or in the parking lot. There is a metric for how many people are outside, and when they pass into the building. GeoMetri creates geofences and once people pass in to the building, it would be considered a “conversion.” The largest percentage of people come in from the outside through the front door. There is also a way to track whether they stay in the store or leave.

“We’re creating metrics that are similar to the website. Then they move to the main restaurant, whether they come in and stay or go,” said Healander. “We are able to track each cell phone because they give off a specific ID. For example, if there are a bunch of people standing in this waiting room, and we don’t know who they are, we have a metric for first time visitors. You can find out patterns of people even if you don’t know who they are just by the cell phone ID. Some may have high loyalty, or they come frequently, but they’re aggregated into a percentage of who come once a month, weekly, or daily.”

The city development authority wants to measure foot traffic for stores, the Art Council wants to use it where they have art events, tracking new visitors who don’t usually come to downtown. With these tools people can measure how people interact with their products. Most smartphones are within a few feet of people, so the pings they give off are pretty accurate as to their location.

Here are some use cases for the technology:

  • Warehousing & Manufacturing
  • Medical or Assisted Living
  • Hospitality
  • Entertainment
  • Security Applications

Healander said they went to the GreenBuild Conference and talked to people about using this technology for how to better utilize space management, and use same data to improve power usage in companies and in the home.

Some ideas for the future include being in a waiting room. If you sit in the room for more than two minutes (everyone has an iPad or iPhone), the technology will alert you and someone will come and ask you if you want water or coffee. “You’ll never wait longer than two minutes,” said Healander.

Universities are interested in running the system for three months to see how people flow through their building, to see what the space utilization is like. This will help them in determining how to most efficiently remodel using green building standards.

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Categories: location based services, mobile

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