Source - Aleksandar Savic
Many companies have recently been implementing indoor location sensing technologies into their infrastructure. Such systems allow optimizing companies’ performance, lead to bigger profits, and ensure more efficient business development. At present, there are many indoor location sensing and positioning systems. In the given article we’ll analyze the most common ones that are widely used among modern businesses.
Application of location sensing technologies
Geolocation-based technologies operate through satellite signals or radio waves. Each location sensing technology has its peculiarities, pros, and cons, Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi RTT, UWB, Bluetooth® Low Energy, and GPS being in the biggest demand in the business environment.
Transport, logistics, offices, museums, and exhibitions are, probably, the main spheres of application of Wi-Fi technology. The system defines the coordinates of an object using Wi-Fi points. The calculation is carried out using MAC addresses and RSSI that allow identifying objects with an accuracy of up to 5-10 m.
The existing equipment (points of access) is enough for introducing the system into the enterprise’s infrastructure.
Core Wi-Fi benefits:
- low implementation costs thanks to the use of the existing infrastructure;
- broadcasting signals at a high distance (up to 150 m);
- possibility of the platform scalability in the automatic mode;
- convenient combination with other software solutions for more accurate localization.
As for disadvantages, it should be mentioned that data transfer rate can be affected by some interferences, like other Wi-Fi signals.
Wi-Fi RTT is considered a more advanced technology in comparison with usual Wi-Fi. It allows calculating the location with an accuracy of up to 1 m. Calculations are carried out by measuring the distance from a tag to the nearest router, which makes the system an optimal solution for indoor navigation.
The technology possesses the same capabilities as Wi-Fi but in a wider range. It ensures higher accuracy, small delays, simplicity, and saving money on integration. On average, the system implementation into the existing infrastructure takes up to 2 weeks so Wi-Fi RTT is one of the most flexible solutions.
The location sensing platform has just started to get into use in various spheres of our life but it has already proved to be effective in warehousing, as well as in logistics. It also improves navigation in public places. While using this positioning technology in airports, exhibitions, and shopping malls, one can easily find the needed points of interest and develop optimal routes to them.
Bluetooth® Low Energy
Bluetooth® LE belongs to the most convenient and economical tool for indoor navigation and positioning. Its implementation requires special sensors (beacons), installed in various places in the building, which send out radio signals at regular intervals. Special scanning devices receive these impulses and direct them to the server where they are processed and delivered to users’ smartphones in the form of available information.
The spheres of the location sensing system application include industry, logistics, retail, sport, medicine, and culture.
Core Bluetooth® Low Energy benefits:
- creating the infrastructure based on the existing equipment;
- high accuracy of positioning – from 1 to 5 m;
- simplicity and high speed of beacon installation;
- possibility of random beacon configuration.
The downsides of Bluetooth® LE technology include the necessity to have additional equipment and a relatively low range of signal propagation – up to 30 m.
UWB is the most accurate location sensing technology which allows measuring the position of objects and people with an accuracy of up to 10 sm. The system is based on using tags that receive radio signals in a wide frequency range. Impulses are propagated at a frequency of up to several GHz and transformed into information that is delivered to users’ smartphones.
- resistance to interference;
- wide range of scalability on speed;
- high-level accuracy of positioning and monitoring of object movements;
- spectral flexibility.
High costs of implementation are thought to be the main disadvantage of the Ultra Wideband technology, which limits its use to the places where a special accuracy of positioning is required.
Learn more about the professional Real-Time Indoor Navigation solutions for mobile appsDISCOVER INDOOR NAVIGATION
In contrast to the above-mentioned platforms that use radio impulses, the GPS is based on satellite signals. Geolocation is carried out by using signals of satellites that orbit around our planet and at preset intervals transmit their location, status, and exact time. The devices on the Earth receive these signals and allow object positioning.
The accuracy of GPS positioning is about 20 m. However, satellite signals often can’t pass through the walls. For this reason, the system isn’t practically used for tracking objects inside buildings. It can be applied only as an additional marketing tool for positioning objects in open spaces, such as parking lots, stadiums, or pedestrian zones near shopping centers.
How do location-based mobile applications work?
Location-based smartphone applications have become an integral part of our life. They are present in all spheres – from the industry of hospitality to logistics. The main aim of these applications is to attract clients and improve the convenience of space utilization. Using such apps, it is possible to deliver useful information to people, promote goods or services, and improve the safety of the enterprise performance.
Special software tools are required for the mobile phone application to effectively calculate the position of the object. These tools are a set of algorithms that are integrated into the ready-made mobile application and allow solving a wide range of tasks based on geolocation. For example, the software product from Navigine – Navigine SDK. The platform has been developed specially for indoor navigation, consequently, can be easily integrated into various industry solutions.
Any mobile application, integrated with location sensing technologies, processes the information on the user’s location only with their consent. To make the platform work, a person has to install a corresponding program on his/her smartphone. All iOS or Android-based mobile devices provide users with some elements that allow adjusting the permissions for gathering information, using network signals and motion sensors.
Android provides applications with two types of permissions – background or foreground. In the first case, the request for permission to calculate the location is applied only to those mobile apps that can constantly share such information. The foreground permission includes issuing permissions in cases when a person uses the application.
Navigine actively employs such technologies as Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi RTT, UWB, and Bluetooth® Low Energy that ensure high data accuracy and can be effectively used for organizing the indoor positioning functions in applications.
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