Report Looks at Market Factors for Indoor Positioning
First article today. Follow the link within my link to find the full report. I have talked a few times about indoor positioning. I want to talk a little bit about how and why this matters. Outdoor positioning works by having a combination of space and terrestrial stations that broadcast their location. When you have enough of these signals you can triangulate your position. So just a few signals means you have a general idea of where you are. Each additional signal improves your precision and accuracy. When cell networks went through their boom and we started plunking down cell towers on every high(ish) object we could find we suddenly had dozens (hundreds in big cities) of signals. So if you live in even a moderately sized city you can sometimes have positions to within feet of your true position. This was a huge boon to the world of location science/industry. The problem with these signals though is that they bounce. Every tree, building, even clouds will bounce the signal around and your precision and accuracy decline. If you are inside a building it is next to impossible to receive satellite GPS signals. Cell networks still penetrate buildings, but since you have lost your GPS the precision is still pretty bad.
This is where indoor positioning comes in. If the WiFi transmitter broadcasts position information you can now locate yourself in the same way you would use outdoors. WiFi locations have been increasing across the world. In many developing countries cities are moving straight to WiFi and leaving behind traditional cable based network access.
Let me get back to the article now and stop the tangent where I pretend that I am smart. The hardware now exists for indoor location. This article/report discusses the market factors to make this a reality. I think that the biggest factor is that there is a demand for applications for indoor positioning that did not exist just a few years ago. To meet this demand are a group of hungry programmers. In the next year we will see huge boom for these apps and an increase in indoor and dense urban location.
Stay tuned for tomorrow where I will talk about privacy for indoor locating.