torsdag, augusti 23, 2012

Indoor positioning and navigation in the balance

Today the effort called In-Location was launched; a 22 partner strong(?) alliance to get going "with the goal of driving and unifying industry innovation in mobile indoor positioning" which all sounds fantastic until I dive into the list of partners:

Broadcom, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Eptisa, Geomobile, Genasys, Indra, Insiteo, Nokia, Nomadic Solutions, Nordic Semiconductor, Nordic Technology Group, NowOn, Primax Electronics, Qualcomm, RapidBlue Solutions, Samsung Electronics, Seolane Innovation, Sony Mobile Communications, TamperSeal AB, Team Action Zone and Visioglobe.

It's a mix of startups, consulting companies, hardware, software and mobile producers, the strong one being CSR and Qualcomm that both have reasonably ok chipsets that supports indoor positioning though not navigation. Next level bellow have Nokia, Samsung and Sony Mobile listed, none of them have a working and launched indoor positioning service even if Nokia have indoor maps. But maps are just crap unless combined with positioning technology. Let me show why.

Scalable details
First, the indoor maps provided today are suffering from the outdoor map development as they lack the indoor scale details that we as humans observe while being in the location. We easily spot the faults that all the existing providers Micello, Google, Nokia, Bing, etc present on our mobile screens. We need vectorized, hyperdetailed indoor drawings, not maps that looks like a somewhat improved version of outdoor maps. You don't believe me? Trust me, I've worked with architectural drawings for 25 years and the interpretation of a presented indoor environment correlates to the detail level unless you want confusion and need to add explanations.

Positioning technology and accuracy
So far the accuracy is platform dependent and often bad as with Google's Android indoor project. Nokia have the BT4 thingy going but it sucks as no one can implement it, yet, even if the accuracy is what we need to aim for ~0,30,5 m. Why? Because of the indoor scale ans size of objects that needs to be found by consumers and professionals; everything in retail to maintenance.

Bragging about 4500, 7500 or +10000 indoor locations with (lousy) maps is... ridiculous. When one player can show 500 locations in a medium sized city of 300-500.000 people, then we are talking about coverage and that means way beyond 1.000.000 indoor maps and they need to be, yes, great.

All of these areas needs to be fixed before the market for indoor positioning and navigation becomes mainstream and build some kind of super value to marketers and consumers. At this point in time we are veeeery far away from that.
Btw, did I mention platform independence? ;-)
Well that is an absolute necessity, everything else is just a kids game so shape up or be extinct. The In-Location partner project? Dead as a Dodo.