Finally picking up pace for the location of smartphone users indoors
The indoor location platform market is finally gaining pace, with more than one hundred companies active in the indoor location market that are developing solutions to support diverse use cases and services.
A new survey from analyst firm, Berg Insight, stated venue owners, retailers, handset vendors, mobile operators and various other companies from the advertising and online retail industries are now deploying these location platforms and technologies.
The intention of the technology is to enable and enhance indoor location, navigation and shopping experiences for end users as well as customer engagement and analytics services for venue owners covering shopping malls, transportation hubs and convention centres. There are about 150,000 shopping malls and major transportation hubs worldwide that are likely to drive the market for indoor location platforms.
The global market for indoor location platforms and technologies supporting commercial services is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 50% to reach Euro 150 million by 2018, Berg Insight claimed. Many different technologies can be used to enable indoor location, each with different performance, handset support and cost of deployment. 'Over the next years, companies will roll out both handset-centric and network-centric location platforms, mainly based on a combination of technologies including handset sensors as well as Bluetooth Low Energy beacons and Wi-Fi infrastructure,' said André Malm, senior analyst, Berg Insight.
'Although the market is picking up pace, broad adoption may well take a few years since there still remains some uncertainties among customers regarding which technologies, deployment strategies and business models to choose,' Malm added.
Many chipset developers, location technology specialists and handset platform vendors such as Broadcom, Qualcomm, Pole Star, SenionLab, Apple and Google are involved in the development of hybrid location technologies to enable indoor location. Hybrid location technologies can fuse signal measurements from cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network signals, together with data from handset sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses and altimeters.
Other companies are betting on new approaches. ByteLight uses for example the cameras in handsets to detect signals from modified LED light sources, while IndoorAtlas relies on the compass sensor to detect ambient magnetic field anomalies inside buildings. GloPos has developed a location technology based on mobile network signal measurements that can be used with any handset, not only the latest smartphones.
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