Global positioning systems (GPS) and geo-location have just taken the next step, allowing for indoor navigation, indoor positioning, indoor analytics and indoor mapping. This could be quite useful for package delivery workers or airline passengers. People might never get lost again!
Why doesn’t GPS work inside?
Once you have a GPS device, you would probably like to use it everywhere. The problem is that GPS uses short waves that can’t penetrate buildings or handle electric interference very well. It needs open skies to work.
How does indoor navigation work?
Some buildings are quite enormous; for example, large military bases, government buildings, hospitals or shopping malls. It is easy to get turned-around and lost, especially when you are visiting for the first-time.
The inventor of the indoor navigation technology offers a software and hardware system that uses locator nodes, locator tags, Ultra-Wide Band (UWB), beacons and WiFi. There are also software development kits (SDK) to create a location based building.
Locator Nodes and Tags
There are a variety of ways that indoor navigation technology can be set up, including WiFi, UWB and locator nodes. Some facilities will combine these systems to create a comprehensive indoor positioning system. These WiFi systems work with Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows mobile devices.
The locator nodes can be placed around your facility for capturing, tracking and positioning all mobile devices without requiring you to use a phone application. This is best for a warehouse needing to track its assets. These locator nodes serve as both a receiver and transmitter.
Locator tags are used for large areas. During a natural disaster, employees can evacuate the facility by following these locator units.
The Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) is a more expensive indoor positioning solution. It uses transit time technology (Time of Flight), which is how fast light travels between objects and anchors. This system requires at least 3 receivers (trilateration).
Beacon transmitters use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which can last up to eight years. These radio transmitters operate in a small space between 10 and 30 meters.
Why don’t more people know about this technology?
This technology has actually been available since 2006, but it is quite cost-prohibitive. It will require building owners to build either a complete WiFi network or place numerous locator nodes all around the building. The precision of the indoor positioning system coordinates is also somewhat questionable.
Still, airports and auto manufacturers are incorporating this indoor positioning technology into their facilities. Travelers can find their way around the large airport, so they don’t miss their flights. Package and automobile companies can make sure that they know the exact location of their supplies, inventory, merchandise, goods and packages.