What is Indoor Positioning System

Indoor positioning system is composed of a network of devices, like Bluetooth, Beacons, Near Field communication and more to help you find a way where GPS stops working.

What is Indoor Positioning System
What is Indoor Positioning System

What is Indoor Positioning System

While walking inside an airport, office or any large building, we often find ourselves lost and frustrated even though there are the direction signs everywhere. This happens due to the high complexity of buildings nowadays, which makes orientation very difficult. 

Introduction of  Indoor positioning technology

Indoor positioning system is composed of a network of devices, like Bluetooth, Beacons, Near Field communication and more to help you find a way where GPS stops working. Many manufacturers, retailers, airports, parking garages and many others are using indoor positioning technology to guide people inside their premises. Depending on the budget, accuracy requirement, radio wave signals, magnetic fields, lights and acoustic signals, the quality of Indoor Positioning System to be installed is decided.

Why is Indoor positioning needed in this satellite age?

We are familiar with navigation apps. They help us to identify the most convenient route from our source to destination. These positioning apps work using the satellite’s signal. Though GPS, Glonass or Galileo systems work efficiently outdoors, they don’t work out well with indoor positioning. Indoor positioning system enables the users to locate their position on the digital building map. This cannot be done using satellite navigation as it requires a clear line of sight to point out a location which is not possible indoors. 

After GPS, positioning in cellular networks came into light. You get your position to the nearest “cell” of the station. But due to the low number of cell towers, you cannot get the desired accuracy, and errors up to 100 metres are observed. Since, for indoor positioning, maximum permissible error 3-4 meters, it is not suitable for indoor positioning.

Various forms of Indoor positioning 

Indoor Positioning System can be utilized in the form of different wearable inertial devices that determine the displacement of an object from its source point. In case, the starting point is not known, it has to be identified, including the final position and the route. 

Using Wi-Fi signals, Bluetooth or UWB is also a common way for Indoor positioning, nowadays. A unique model is prepared for signal penetration that is compared with the real signal observed from a Smartphone. Such type of data from 3-4 routers, for a moving object, is combined to identify accurate coordinates and trajectory. 

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In the case of UWB-systems, the distance between an object and a signal’s source is identified. But a constriction is there, they work only in open spaces and are affected by barriers such as walls. A building having a proper indoor position system provides real-time navigation to the visitors and improve their experience. Seamless floor or building transition provides better facility management and helps to optimize store layout. 

To get accurate indoor positioning, technologies like proximity, trilateration, fingerprinting and motion are combined. Proximity positioning is based on direct contact or the proximity between the receiver and the device. It includes technologies like QR codes, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), Visible Light Communication (VLC) devices, Wi-Fi access points that are used to locate Smartphones and Ultrasound devices. Proximity positioning is both a low cost and low tech way to determine a position. 

Trilateration positioning is based on computed distances between several emitters and a receiver using special algorithms. Technologies that use trilateration process are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ultrasounds, Wi-Fi and Ultra-wideband. Ultra-wideband provides an accurate position using ToF that computes the distance between emitter and receiver. 

Fingerprinting positioning makes the use of signal measurements across buildings and complexes to compute the position. Technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) fingerprinting, Wi-Fi fingerprinting, Magnetic field fingerprinting and photo fingerprinting can take advantage of fingerprinting. 

Motion positioning can be used to move around the blue dot until sufficient radio signal variation is achieved to compute another absolute position.  

Integrating several technologies and based on the requirement and budget, proper Indoor positioning can be used in complex buildings to enhance visitors experience, security, thus saving time and energy. 

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