How Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Enable Functioning of Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS)

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies in large facilities can be availed to enable indoor positioning systems for better asset management and indoor location tracking. Here is a brief exposition of how the technology works using various wireless systems.

At the outset, let’s understand that indoor positioning technology is an umbrella term with many connotations, yet referring primarily to indoor positioning and indoor navigation. Based on a facility’s requirements, the adoption of different types/mediums such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are used in order to serve several purposes, with positioning and navigation being predominant.

Also read our blog All You Need to Know About Indoor Positioning and Navigation Systems

How Does an IPS Work?

In this hi-tech era, we hardly hear people getting lost in a new city or navigating to new places in their place of domicile as Smartphone’s with internet and GPS enabled in them make locating points of interest an effortless, and sometimes an enjoyable task.

However, how do we navigate when we are indoors in a large facility such as a shopping mall, a healthcare centre, an educational institution, or a place like an amusement park?

Much like how GPS helps us navigate outdoors,  enabling IPS with the help of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Sensors can aid visitors in wayfinding and reaching their desired spaces with ease inside a facility.

IPS works through several categories such as:

Proximity Positioning- With the help of a receiver or a device, the proximity of the locations are detected and delivered as output. These proximity-based systems have the ability to detect the general location of a person, object or service rooms within the facility based on several technological platforms such as:

Indoor Positioning System

  • QR Codes / NFC tags
  • Bluetooth
  • Visible Light Communication (VLC) devices
  • Wi-Fi Access Points
  • Ultrasound devices

Fingerprint Positioning- This system is built through signal measurements across the facility to compute the position of the visitor. However, it is hypothetical because every position within any facility is almost unique and incomparable to the other.

This system is most commonly used to improve the accuracy of other positioning technology within the facility and moreover, combining multiple sources can increase the accuracy of the technology which can eventually lead to productivity. Similar to the above system, fingerprinting also uses similar technological platforms such as:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • Magnetic field

Apart from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, there are other platforms as well which chip-in based on the implementation costs and the precision in locating the visitor intended destination within the facility.

The chart below will give you a deeper understanding of indoor tracking.

Indoor Tracking

Just like the way GPS functions outdoors, it is IPS that does it indoor – indoor positioning and indoor navigation. Often placed in large facilities like shopping malls, zoos, convention centers, resorts, etc. IPS aids visitors on a real-time basis displaying pathways and shortest routes, while ensuring managements of these facilities obtain necessary data to make more informed business decisions.

IPS is in itself a technology which is blended with a combination of other technologies to provide the best possible precision and accuracy for visitors at large facilities.

Fingerprinting and proximity positioning can together increase the rate of accuracy as high accuracy is the need of the hour in indoor tracking services.

Not all facilities require precision and accuracy but facilities that have large tracts of area and huge infrastructures need to deploy IPS to serve the twin purposes of indoor positioning and indoor navigation within the facility.

 

About Pigeon

Pigeon is a positioning and navigation solution built for the enterprise.

Based on Geolocation tech, Pigeon aids in indoor positioning, indoor navigation, asset tracking, indoor location tracking and event management among others.

Pigeon’s real-time location tracking technology enables location based services for shopping malls, healthcare facilities, corporate campuses, and museums to name a few.

Types of Indoor Positioning Systems [Key Features of Indoor Navigation, Magnetic Positioning and Indoor Localization Technologies]

This post was last updated on Mar 31, 2019 

Key Features of Indoor Navigation, Magnetic Positioning and Indoor Localization Technologies

Indoor positioning is the most commonly used umbrella term which includes all of these ‘indoor GPS’ technologies. However, when observed closely at the technological platform they thrive on, the rationale for using these varied terms to describe them individually becomes self-explanatory.

Indoor navigation, magnetic positioning, and indoor localization refer to technologies adopted by large facilities to help them locate objects, spaces, or people inside the facility where the satellite enabled Global Positioning System (GPS) does not work due to the infrastructural elements such as walls, cabin material, glass, etc. In order to counter this challenge, Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) use a wide array of platforms to enable users locate and navigate within a facility, wayfinding to their points of interest.

Indoor Positioning System

One of the primary reasons for incorporating an indoor navigation technology within a large facility is the flexibility it offers in efficient facility management. Once adopted, users can effortlessly locate, navigate and way find on their smart devices.

An extension of these technologies makes Location Based Services (LBS) possible as well.

Indoor Positioning Technologies – Key Features

So what are the key features of these three positioning technologies? What industries can they be adopted by to help manage the facility better? Which is the most cost-effective type?

It has been eruditely mentioned in an article in 2013 that for indoor navigation to be successful and arrive at a point where precision becomes the norm, a combination of technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ultrawideband may be the answer. Towards the end of the article even leveraging benefit from Internet of Things (IoT) was mentioned, which as we know today, is a reality that has emerged faster than it was predicted.

The table below lists these three terms against parameters used to identify them. With growing focus on the applicability of these technologies, as mentioned in this highly engaging feature, it is important to understand the fine differences between these three terms as well.

Indoor Navigation Magnetic Positioning Indoor Localization
Used for Navigating inside a large facility Locating people or objects inside a building Locating a device or a user inside a building
How does it work? Uses radio waves, acoustic signals, and other sensory information Uses magnetic sensor data from a Smartphone Recommended for use with Wi-Fi & IoT
Technology platform Wi-Fi, Beacons, Bluetooth, Radio frequency Magnetic Fields within a facility Wireless Infrastructure with IoT
Accuracy 80% and above 90% and above 95% and above
Industry applicability Office Spaces, Wildlife Parks, Resorts, Shopping Malls, Convention Centers Office Spaces, Shopping Malls, Warehouses Hospitals, Shopping Malls, Disaster Management
Indoor Data Tracking Possible Possible Possible
Additional Infrastructure Wireless Infrastructure, Beacons, etc None Wireless Infrastructure
Cost Subject to hardware installation Comparatively cheaper Subject to hardware installation
Works as a mobile application? Possible Possible Possible
What can be gathered from the above chart is that using an IPS will have to be based on the industry it is set to be implemented in.

However, as has been written about in our earlier blog posts, a facility needs much more from a mobile application than positioning and navigation alone.

Hence, the success of any of these three technologies lies in seamless integration with other features which would help in superior facility management.

About Pigeon

Pigeon is a positioning and navigation solution built for the enterprise.

Based on Geolocation tech, Pigeon aids in indoor positioning, indoor navigation, asset tracking, indoor location tracking and event management among others.

Pigeon’s real-time location tracking technology enables location based services for shopping malls, healthcare facilities, corporate campuses, and museums to name a few.