We’ve been providing venue maps to business partners like Bing for over a year. Today, we’re extending our indoor mapping partnerships to Qualcomm to help create new indoor location-based services.
All location-based services need two elements to work:
Positioning technologies, such as GPS, provide extremely precise location information.
Accurate maps then transform these numbers and coordinates into something we can all understand: a pin on a map.
This works very well when we’re outdoors. But when we’re inside a building (roughly 90% of our time), things get less detailed. Satellite signals can’t reach indoor locations and other technologies based on Wi-Fi or cellular networks aren’t as accurate.
The pin on a map becomes a circle.
But as Cormac Conroy, vice president of the mobile, computing and location business unit at Qualcomm Atheros points out, indoors positioning within “3 – 7 meters is [all that is] needed for certain applications. In other situations, [such as] when you are trying to find a product at a specific shelf level, sub one-meter accuracy may be important.”
This is why Qualcomm’s IZat technology has been created for more accurate positioning indoors. At the same time HERE is mapping more and more venues (50,000 building in 69 countries so far) by not only collecting floor plans, but by also physically visiting venues.
These two elements will inspire a new generation of location-based experiences indoors: app developers and venues will have new ways to reach people with personalized, relevant and contextual information.
“Many new applications will be developed, such as for navigation, finding people and places, social networking, and receiving relevant and contextual information,” Conroy continues.
“From there, I believe that people’s demand for these types of applications will propagate the rapid penetration of indoor location applications and drive the technology to get more precise. People today want to be able to use their mobile devices in any environment. Why should location-based applications be any different?”
The market for indoor location is definitively ready, says Patrick Connolly, senior analyst from ABI Research:
“It is now a case of when, rather than if, for the multi-billion dollar indoor location market. With high accuracy location and mapping becoming fundamental to success, this announcement is a great example of how industry collaboration can catalyze the market”.