Indoor Positioning System
Indoor Positioning System based on BLE Beacons.
There are several methods of indoor positioning without a standard solution unlike that for outdoor positioning based on GPS satellites.
Outdoor positioning systems have been an integral part of our lives since the GPS satellite technology was made commercially available. Now we hardly see smartphones without integrated GPS or a driver relying on GPS to navigate.
It is not possible to use GPS to locate someone inside a building but other technologies can be used. Indoor positioning is arguably more complicated that outdoor positioning due to the fact that infrastructure has to be setup.
So why is indoor positioning required?. Locations such as airports, museums and shopping malls are visited by several people daily, whom can benefit from an indoor positioning solution. Navigation around malls and airports can be easy. At the same time, organisation can push location based messages to the visitors to trigger interactions and enhance customer experience.
The Technology and How it Works
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from beacons are used for indoor positioning. Bluetooth Beacons, also called BLE beacons and iBeacons, are small, battery driven and inexpensive. A device such as a smartphone can detect the signal from these beacons and estimate the distance to it based on the relative signal strength it receives.
From the customer perspective
Customers can use the beacons to navigate around building and receive location based content. The would typically use their personal mobile phones with an app that needs to be downloaded. This app would contain the map of the location as well as location centric messages.
From the organisation perspective
Organisations typically employ indoor positioning systems to enhance their customers’ experience. These are some of the benefits that location based solutions can provide to an organisation:
- A museum can provide a guided tour to their visitors by having them download a mobile app without having to issue out audio devices that must be maintained.
- Retail outlets can target location based content such as coupons and discounts to their visitors.
- Large buildings such as airports and hospitals can provide indoor navigation to visitors.
The content management system (CMS) is a web based portal that allows organisations to manage their beacons, maps and content that has to be delivered to customers. A fully functional CMS is critical for organistions looking to deploy large number of beacons. In addition, they can provide reports such as dwell time, heat map and movement history of visitors.