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Breakthrough Innovations in Indoor GPS (Technical Insights)

  • December 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 49 pages


Table of Contents

Collaborative Approach and Technology Convergence Leading to Indoor Positioning Beyond

Considering the absence of a standardized technology for indoor positioning and the inability of traditional GPS technology to operate inside buildings, this paper explores the possibilities of convergences of various futuristic technologies towards achieving an Unified Positioning System which could operate seamlessly to deliver highly accurate and real-time positioning anywhere across the globe.

Research Scope

The inability of traditional global positioning systems (GPS) to work in an indoor environment gave rise to the concept of Indoor GPS or Indoor Positioning technology. The Indoor GPS technology is used to locate or navigate inside buildings. However, the lack of a standard technology for indoor positioning has given rise to a number of approaches which leverage various other technologies to achieve effective indoor positioning of an object. These approaches have a wide range of accuracy, integration potentials and applications. This research service focuses on the various new innovations in the indoor GPS technology space along with its convergence potentials with various other futuristic technologies and their applications toward achieving a futuristic unified positioning solution.

The research service includes the following:
• Overview of indoor GPS technology, including its importance
• Technology value chain, and key stakeholder activities throughout the components of the value chain
• The various techniques used for indoor positioning and the different approaches
• Recent technology innovations and areas of applications
• Few recent research initiatives
• Convergence of indoor GPS with several futuristic technologies
• Potential futuristic applications of indoor GPS.

Research Methodology

Step 1: To provide a thorough analysis of each topic, Technical Insights’ analysts perform a review of patents to become familiar with the major developers and commercial participants and their processes.
Step 2: Building on the patent search, the analysts review abstracts to identify key scientific and technical papers that provide insights into key industry participants and the technical processes on which they work.
Step 3: The analysts then create a detailed questionnaire with content created to address the research objectives of the study, which functions as a guide during the interview process. While the analysts use structured questionnaires to guarantee coverage of all the desired issues, they also conduct interviews in a conversational style. This approach results in a more thorough exchange of views with the respondents, and offers greater insight into the relevant issues than more structured interviews may provide.
Step 4: The analysts conduct primary research with key industry participants and technology developers to obtain the required content. Interviews are completed with sources located throughout the world, in universities, national laboratories, governmental and regulatory bodies, trade associations, and end-user companies, among other key organizations. Our analysts contact the major commercial participants to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of processes and the drivers and challenges behind technologies and applications. Our analysts talk to the principal developers, researchers, engineers, business developers, analysts, strategic planners, and marketing experts, among other professionals.
Step 5: The project management and research team reviews and analyzes the research data that are gathered and adds its recommendations to the draft of the final study. Having conducted both published studies and custom proprietary research covering many types of new and emerging technology activities as well as worldwide industry analysis, the management and research team adds its perspective and experience to provide an accurate, timely analysis. The analysts then prepare written final research services for each project and sometimes present key findings in analyst briefings to clients.

Key Findings

The requirement of a positioning system, which can locate objects or individuals inside buildings where GPS does not work, gave rise to the concept of Indoor GPS technology. The inability of GPS signals to penetrate walls was the key driver to find alternate technologies and approaches for indoor positioning.
The growing need for locating people and objects inside buildings using technology being addressed by the indoor GPS technologies. The various applications such as security, retail, marketing gaming and so on are defining the most prominent demands in this space. The major objectives served by the technology include indoor navigation in huge buildings, asset tracking, tracking individuals, location sharing and so on.
The lack of a standard technology has led various solution providers and researchers to develop numerous approaches and techniques. These approaches are based on different technologies which were developed for other purposes such as communication, illumination and so on. The scope for development of a standard technology which could be used for real-time accurate indoor positioning still persists.
Among the various challenges for indoor GPS technology, the most prominent has been the level of accuracy. The various approaches have respective level of accuracies required to cater the application demands. Though the solution providers are constantly researching to deliver optimum accuracy in real-time, the highest accuracy achieved till date by any approach is about ten centimetres.
The most common approach for indoor positioning has been the use of communication networks such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This approach leverages the internal wireless networks to be used in association with the network hardware present in the present day smart computing devices. Another common approach adopted by solution providers has been the usage of various types of sensors for tracking location.
The most recent technological innovations in the indoor GPS space has been for finding newer approaches for better accuracy. Initiatives to use light, cameras, sound and other methods for indoor positioning has been the recent trend. Besides the various solution providers, other entities involved in researching in this space include several Government research bodies as well as institutes and universities.
The indoor GPS technology seems to be having numerous convergence potentials with futuristic technologies such as augmented reality, context aware mobility, LED lighting, ubiquitous wireless networks, and so on. Some are already being leveraged while some are having high potential to be leveraged in near future.
Several approaches for indoor positioning seem to working efficiently even outdoors delivering better accuracy than GPS. There seems to be enough possibilities that these approaches might in near future be used for positioning seamlessly outdoors as well as indoors leading to the development of a standardized unified positioning platform.

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