May 22, 2014 weblog
Indoor mapping iOS solution bypasses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth beacons (w/ Video)
A geomagnetic-based mapping app for indoors, yes, indoors, is now available for devices running the iOS mobile operating system, which means you get out your iPhone and iPad to take advantage of a new launch from IndoorAtlas. This company, with an office in Mountain View, California, originated as a spinoff from research at Finland's Oulu University. The company promotes its patented indoor positioning technology, which uses the built-in magnetometers in smartphones to detect anomalies in the geomagnetic field, guiding users trying to navigate through indoor spaces. A key distinguishing feature about their technology is that there is no need for any additional infrastructure. The IndoorAtlas app allows for accurate positioning within six feet inside a building, without having to use any external hardware such as Bluetooth beacons or Wi-Fi connectivity.
Prof. Janne Haverinen, CEO and Founder, IndoorAtlas, called the positioning technology for iOS game-changing. He said the app opens up a world of possibilities for in-store and in-mall mapping mobile apps that support location-based point-of-sale, advertising and marketing. IndoorAtlas was founded in 2012 by Haverinen and four other PhDs in computer science. IndoorAtlas is in Mountain View, with R&D centers in Oulu and Oxford in the UK.
A promotional video sums up the advantage of the app, saying that it works just like GPS in places where GPS does not work. "The end user experience is very similar to using GPS outdoors" said the company in its release. The technology makes use of built-in magnetometers in smartphones to detect anomalies in the earth's geomagnetic field.
As for developers, the news is that IndoorAtlas API and tools are accessible for building indoor positioning features to their iOS apps. Commercial applications in verticals include retail, public-safety, manufacturing, and social networking. Commenting on IndoorAtlas, Quentin Hardy said in The New York Times that a Finnish company called IndoorAtlas has figured out that all buildings have a unique magnetic "fingerprint"—and has solved how to use that to determine locations inside a structure to within six feet. That is enough to take a consumer to a product in a crowded supermarket, or figure out the location of, say, a half-dozen workers in a building full of them."
As for Android support for IndoorAtlas, according to the description on Google play, "Officially supported devices are Nexus 4 and 5, and Samsung Galaxy S4 (Android 4.3)."
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