Indoor positioning systems (IPS) have changed the way we navigate through vast spaces like warehouses, shopping malls, or aeroports. By leveraging precision location services, these systems have not only solved the problem of finding a way in a vast space, but also opened up new possibilities for enhanced customer experiences. Here are some fascinating stats to prove that.

The global indoor positioning & navigation market was valued at 1.28 billion USD in 2019. By 2030, this figure is likely to reach 30.20 billion USD. The 33.1% CAGR looks impressive, doesn’t it? So, let’s get into the context.

Can your business benefit from IPS technology, and in what way? What industries are impacted the most? We will start with what we know best – our own experience. Then, we will uncover the best indoor positioning use cases one by one to show you how your company can revolutionize client experience: only actionable insights, no trivia.

What It Takes to Provide Indoor Location Tracking in Construction: CHI Software Insights

We will start from afar, i.e., from an overall industry overview. Why would construction need precise indoor positioning?

Imagine you are on a construction site. It is a place bustling with people, machinery, and materials everywhere. It can be quite challenging to keep track of everything and everyone, right? This is where indoor positioning comes into play.

First of all, it can significantly improve safety. We can avoid accidents if we know where people and potentially dangerous equipment are at all times. No more wasting time looking for a tool or a colleague. And it can even help monitor progress on the site, ensuring that projects stay on schedule.

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What tools to use for indoor positioning solutions? Click to find out

More Specifics: Our Project Background

So, our client is one of the leaders in the Japanese construction industry as well as in the automated reporting software niche. To provide maximum safety and management efficiency, our client wants to know everything about a specific construction spot at any given moment. They also need info on how this space looked some time ago to analyze changes.

You might think a well-known GPS can do all the hard work, but it can’t. It is useless when your project requires spotless indoor positioning accuracy. For this reason, we implement computer vision capabilities along with the data from accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Now, why don’t we take a look under the hood?

What Can Our IPS Solution Do?

An indoor positioning system for the construction industry | CHI Software case study

For starters, we are equipped with a 360-degree camera that films every nook and cranny of an indoor construction site. This is no ordinary camera, as it has high-tech sensors like an accelerometer and gyroscope.

  • Our task is to map the camera’s journey in the room where the video was shot. We are using not just the data from the 360-degree camera’s sensors but also some special markers placed strategically on the room’s walls. These markers are like breadcrumbs in a forest. They help us detect and recognize certain spots and refine the camera’s path, making it incredibly precise. But it is not as easy as following the yellow brick road.
  • The sensors, while impressive, have their quirks. They can make errors, and these mistakes can pile up. But fear not; our AI/ML team is like the Sherlock Holmes of data. They are constantly at work, sifting through the noise, filtering out irrelevant information, and smoothing over inaccuracies.
  • We have now upped the ante by adding another layer to our sensor data: video data. We are using specially generated ArUco markers for the task at hand.

On the scheme below, there are three paths with marker locations (represented by blue dots). The red numbers are like a secret code, the information encrypted in the markers.

An indoor positioning system for the construction industry: Workflow

There is more to come! We have been rolling up our sleeves on another exciting update – sensor fusion. It is essentially a process where we join forces with data from various sensors to create an ultra-precise, comprehensive, and reliable snapshot of the environment or situation at hand. Think of it as a superhero team-up but for data. This sensor and video data merging has supercharged our indoor navigation software to achieve top-notch accuracy.

Click here to read this case study in full and learn more exciting insights from our team, including business and technical details.

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What Are Other Industry Applications of IPS? Top Use Cases and Market Examples 

Improving client experience is one of the sure ways to increase your revenue. But how exactly can you use emerging opportunities? We have gathered several impressive use cases to uncover the practical side of the IPS niche.

Retail: Optimizing In-Store Customer Experiences

Indoor positioning for retail is a reliable tool to understand better how your clients behave without asking them any questions. Every step of your customer matters from now on.

For example, indoor mapping software and wayfinding apps guide shoppers to the exact product they want. Sensors and beacons pinpoint a customer’s location within a few meters, enabling targeted promotions or product recommendations as they browse the aisles.

Some retailers use smart dressing rooms that detect which items a customer has chosen to try on. Staff are notified in real-time so they can provide personalized service, restock clothing, or suggest complementary products.

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Market example: Mall of America

Mall of America is well-known for its size and hundreds of stores inside. So where should a client start, and how to avoid getting lost? Bluetooth indoor positioning serves as a digital compass in this retail ocean.

As visitors stroll through the mall, their smartphone is like a Bluetooth beacon whisperer, picking up signals from the premises. Each beacon is a herald broadcasting information to guide shoppers to their next destination. Whether it is a sale at a certain store or directions to a new pop-up shop, the beacons make sure visitors are in the know. 

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Check out our case study about an advanced AI reporting tool for retail Read more

Healthcare: Streamlining Operations and Improving Care

Healthcare indoor positioning has significantly improved operations and patient care in healthcare facilities. Real-time location services (RTLS) track the location of staff, patients, and medical equipment. This streamlines everything from scheduling patient appointments to ensuring crash carts are fully stocked.

For example, RTLS helps staff instantly locate a doctor or nurse during an emergency. Patients with mobility issues can be monitored to prevent falls. Medical devices like IV pumps, heart monitors, and wheelchairs can be tracked to improve efficiency. Some hospitals have cut equipment search times by over 80% using RTLS!

Warehouses: Boosting Efficiency and Accuracy

The high level of accuracy provided by warehouse location tracking is vital in the fast-paced warehouse environment. Workers can quickly locate needed items, whether on shelves, in transit, or somewhere in between.

Forklifts and pallet jacks equipped with indoor positioning tags allow warehouse managers to track their movements and optimize traffic flow. This helps prevent congestion and collisions, ensuring a safe working environment for all.

Whether using UWB, WiFi-based IPS, or another technology, advanced indoor navigation is poised to transform warehouse management. Real-time visibility and data-driven analytics will boost productivity and cost savings for years to come. 

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Market example: DHL

DHL, as one of the leading logistics companies globally, has been at the forefront of implementing and utilizing smart warehouse technologies. The concept of a smart warehouse involves integrating numerous advanced technologies, some of which are used for indoor positioning.

Thus, the company extensively uses sensors and RFID tags to monitor the location and condition of goods, ensuring accurate inventory management and timely fulfillment of orders.

Additionally, DHL has experimented with the use of drones for inventory management. Drones equipped with cameras and RFID technology can quickly scan and track inventory in large warehouses.

Manufacturing: Tracking Assets and Improving Workflows

Everybody knows that manufacturing always implies multi-stage operations requiring your full attention. One minor error can lead to fatal consequences. But how to avoid them when you deal with the human factor? Indoor navigation solutions have something to offer.

  • Tracking equipment and inventory. Factories rely on heavy-duty equipment like forklifts, carts, and machinery constantly in motion. IPS for asset tracking helps prevent loss or theft and ensures equipment is fully utilized. 
  • Streamlining workflows. With location data on staff and assets, manufacturers can see how much time is spent transporting materials versus actual production, identify process bottlenecks, and find areas where automation could free up human workers. 
  • Improving safety. Alerts can be set up to notify managers if certain assets enter restricted areas or workers get too close to hazardous machinery. Indoor positioning also enables mustering and emergency response in the event of accidents or disasters.

Hotels: Creating Personalized Guest Services

Hospitality businesses use indoor location analytics to provide personalized guest services and amenities. By tracking a guest’s location and movements, hotels can gain valuable insights into their preferences and habits.

Some hotels are testing indoor mapping to provide turn-by-turn directions within the building using a guest’s smartphone. This could help visitors navigate to their rooms or find on-site facilities. The mapping data also gives hotels valuable information about how guests move around and utilize the property’s space and different services.

Airports: Enhancing Navigation and Safety

For passengers, indoor positioning means easier navigation through terminals. Apps can provide turn-by-turn directions to gates, baggage claim, check-in counters or airport amenities. 

For airports, indoor positioning boosts operational efficiency and safety. By tracking the locations of aircraft, vehicles, and staff, airports can ensure that runways and taxiways are clear before allowing aircraft to proceed. Indoor positioning also helps with asset tracking, allowing airports to monitor equipment locations, luggage carts and emergency vehicles.

Market example: Houston airports

 George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): Top view

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) offer users a separate app that allows them to find a way in an ample space using a blue dot locator. But that is not all. Using this app, passengers can also check real-time flight information, find and plan stops at shops, or preview wait times at security checkpoints.

This innovation is a load off passengers’ shoulders, as it eliminates numerous stress factors and provides an enjoyable experience for travelers. It is, no doubt, a worthy investment for a transportation facility.

Conclusion: Indoor Positioning Technologies Will Evolve

So there you have it. Indoor positioning is transforming how we navigate, interact and experience the world in so many innovative ways. Whether helping visitors find the nearest restroom at the mall or enabling autonomous robots in factories, this technology is rapidly evolving and being implemented across various domains. 

The future is exciting as companies continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with IPS. Before you know it, this tech may become as ubiquitous as GPS and make navigating indoors second nature to us. The future is near, so you must use each opportunity to be ahead of your rivals.

If you have any questions about the latest advancements in the niche, consult our AI engineers. We use the full force of intelligent algorithms to help your business thrive.

FAQs

  • What are the key differences between indoor and outdoor positioning systems? arrow

    Indoor positioning systems (IPS) differ from outdoor positioning systems like GPS primarily in their technology and environment. While GPS relies on satellite signals, which are ineffective indoors, IPS uses technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, and ultrasonic beacons to navigate within buildings where satellite signals are unavailable or unreliable. Additionally, indoor systems often require more precision to navigate complex indoor spaces compared to the relatively open environments navigated by outdoor systems.

  • How accurate is indoor positioning? arrow

    The accuracy of indoor positioning systems can vary significantly based on the technology used. Generally, these systems achieve an accuracy range from a few meters down to as precise as a few centimeters. Technologies like ultra-wideband (UWB) and advanced Wi-Fi systems offer higher accuracy, often within a meter or less, making them suitable for detailed navigation and tracking applications in indoor environments.

  • Which industries benefit most from indoor positioning? arrow

    Industries that benefit most from indoor positioning include retail, healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing. Retailers use it for enhancing customer experience and in-store navigation, healthcare facilities for tracking equipment and patient flow, logistics for efficient warehouse management, and manufacturing for inventory tracking and optimizing floor operations.

  • How does indoor positioning enhance customer experience in retail and hospitality? arrow

    In retail and hospitality, indoor positioning enables personalized navigation and targeted information delivery. Customers can easily find products or amenities, receive location-based offers and information, and enjoy streamlined services like wayfinding and check-ins. This saves time and adds a touch of personalization and extra convenience to the customer journey.

  • Can indoor positioning improve emergency response? arrow

    Yes, indoor positioning can significantly improve emergency response. By providing accurate real-time location data, it enables quicker and more efficient evacuation and rescue operations within buildings. Emergency responders can use this information to identify the location of individuals needing assistance and to navigate complex indoor environments more effectively. It also helps plan and execute emergency procedures, ensuring a more coordinated and timely response in critical situations.

About the author
Alex Shatalov Data Scientist & ML Engineer

Alex is a Data Scientist & ML Engineer with an NLP specialization. He is passionate about AI-related technologies, fond of science, and participated in many international scientific conferences.

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