25- Feb2017
Posted By: Terrance
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Indoor Positioning With Internet of Things (IoT): Limitless Scope

We have come a long we since the time of hand-drawn maps and ignorant explorers. The 21st century is the age of technological reinvention. Organizations all over the world are locked in the race to create bigger and better things. Global Positioning Systems has made the world smaller. And now, indoor navigation aims to make even more digitally detailed.

What is Indoor Navigation System?
While GPS has made tremendous strides in improved connectivity and mapping out the world, penetrating closed structures still remains a challenge. Indoor navigation aims to rectify this. Using a combination of different technologies, like Radio Frequency, Ultrasounds, Bluetooth, etc, companies are now trying to accurately map out the inner surface of homes, hospitals and public buildings. It is estimated that by 2020, indoor positioning will be  a larger market than GPS ever was.

What is IoT?
The “Internet of Things”, also called IoT, refers to a variety of devices capable of connecting to a network and transmitting information. Coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, the phrase went gained popularity since it could collectively bring a variety of networks like wireless networks, microelectomechanical systems, microservices and the internet under one umbrella. Thus, it effectively transcended the barrier between Operational technology (OT) and Informational Technology (IT).

How they can be coupled
Smart items are the latest trend in an increasingly connected world. Having objects able to send and receive data has a added a different dimension to human interaction with them. Thus, it is a not a huge leap to have normal items perform additional tasks. Indoor navigation makes use of this principle.

Phones and tablets can use geo-positioning to chalk out location and position. Devices can be equipped with infrared sensors to accurately detect location. Thus, we can build an integrated platform that sends data to a collective platform which can build an accurate map that will far surpass the blue dot of a GPS.

Some examples of this concept are:

  • An office can track schedules and itineraries of employees. Thus the system can tally attendance of a number of people with particular rooms for scheduled times verifying meetings and conferences. This can accurately map out meeting rooms in buildings and also point out which rooms are full. The elevator can also be made to act flexibly in terms of number of people based on tracking algorithms. This approach can be termed as “Connected Enterprise”.
  • Evacuations can be helped by smart devices projecting location of trapped people. Intelligent smoke detectors can send data to rescue teams thus telling them how many people still remain. Heat sensors fail in case of fires, thus other technology can utilized to map out the building and by comparing to previous records, firemen can detect collapsed structures and barred exits. The system can also plot out a route to safety.
  • Airports are often confusing places and it is a challenge for people to find correct terminals or spot exits. This can be made even more difficult for the visually impaired. Smart devices and sensors can transmit data to people’s phones in order to help them navigate the place accurately. In face, Apple’s iBeacon has been used to guide travellers in San Francisco airport with success.

Most indoor positioning systems still struggle with accuracy and precision. Charting out accurate locations in small structures often poses a challenge. However, the opportunities with technologies are limitless and tech firms recognize that. Thus it won’t be long before success is achieved.

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