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On Thursday, August 23, 22 companies across the mobile and wireless ecosystem launched the In-Location Alliance. While GPS technology has evolved into a necessity for many of us – both consumers and enterprises – the capacity of GPS technology to navigate indoors is extremely limited. Thus these 22 companies have joined forces to focus on “creating solutions offering high accuracy, low power consumption, mobility, implementation and usability,” Nokia.
Founding members of this group include Nokia, Nordic Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Sony Mobile Communications, and Samsung Electronics. Nokia has, in past years, invested a considerable amount of time and resources towards development of High Accuracy Indoor Positioning (HAIP) technology. This technology enables HAIP antennas installed in the ceilings of a building to communicate with a wireless signal transmitted by a component installed in a mobile device or developed as separate tags.
While Nokia has made considerable progress in development of these indoor positioning technologies based on enhanced Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi standards, formation of this industry alliance will greatly enhance the openness of OEMs to installing these specialized wireless components into mobile device, the willingness of building owners to install HAIP antennas in their ceilings, and the overall talent pool of individuals working to advance this system architecture.
The potential benefits of enhanced indoor positioning technology are numerous – for both consumers and enterprises. For consumers, this technology may enable GPS-like directions (at a much higher degree of accuracy) to enable time-savings in stores, airports, or large office buildings. For retailers, on the other hand, this technology may enable rapid innovations in person-specific or contextual advertising. This technology may also evolve to facilitate time- and cost-savings for industries such as manufacturing and logistics, where even small time-savings have the potential to greatly enhance overall productivity.
While the full implications of this technology, and its future use cases, are not well understood, the formation of the In-Location Alliance is a promising signal, indicating that we may expect continued investment to explore these possibilities.