Skip to main content

An ace up Google's sleeve in Bluetooth-based Indoor Positioning?

Everyone's talking these days about Google's new indoor mapping, which they say will track a cellphone's location as a person walks around a mall or airport.  This would obviously be a huge breakthrough, now that everyone's gotten used to using cellphones for navigation and location services, and would naturally like to keep doing so while walking around a mall.

Nokia just counter-attacked with an update on their own indoor navigation research, which uses Bluetooth-based "beacons" to improve indoor positioning.  Of course, this research isn't new, it's a continuation of work at Nokia that dates back several years.  But the new announcement places this new capability in the context of new Windows-based smartphones.

Of course, there are dozens of companies working on indoor positioning.  Grizzly Analytics reported many of these in our report on next-generation location services, and we'll soon have an updated report out on indoor location positioning which analyzes research by Google, Nokia, RIM, Qualcomm, Samsung and many more.

In the meantime, here's a fun fact that nobody has reported in the recent flurry of articles on the race between Nokia and Google to indoor location services:  Who do you think holds a granted U.S. patent on using Bluetooth for indoor positioning?

Google.

A U.S. patent titled Location determination for mobile units was granted back in 2004 to Motorola.  It discussed, in terminology that feels outdated this many years later, using fixed Bluetooth devices with known locations to track mobile devices that are also Bluetooth-equipped.

Yep, that's the same as using beacons to position smartphones.

This patent is presumably soon to be owned by Google, with their acquisition of Motorola Mobility and their huge patent portfolio

Of course, there are many differences between the methods discussed in this patent and Nokia's research.  Motorola's method did the computation in the cloud, while Nokia's looking at location determination on the handset.  And Nokia's looking at more sophisticated algorithms for triangulation and positioning. 

But it's fascinating nonetheless that Nokia's big announcement of Bluetooth-based positioning, that they and everyone thought (with justification) would differentiate them strongly from Google's approach, would step right into the area of a Google-owned patent.

Want to learn more about research underway at a wide variety of companies in the area of indoor positioning?  Check back soon for an up-to-date and insightful report on the subject from Grizzly Analytics.

Popular posts from this blog

Intel demos indoor location technology in new Wi-Fi chips at MWC 2015

Intel made several announcements at MWC 2015, including a new chipset for wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi) in mobile devices. This new chipset, the 8270, include in-chip support for indoor location positioning. Below we explain their technology and show a video of it in action. With this announcement, Intel joins Broadcom, Qualcomm and other chip makers in moving broad indoor location positioning into mobile device hardware.

The transition of indoor location positioning into chips is a trend identified in the newest Grizzly Analytics report on Indoor Location Positioning Technologies, released the week before MWC 2015. By moving indoor location positioning from software into hardware, chips such as Intel's enable location positioning to run continuously and universally, without using device CPU, and with less power consumption.

Intel's technology delivers 1-3 meter accuracy, using a technique called multilateration, generating a new location estimate every second. While 1-3 meter …

33 Indoor Location Technologies at Mobile World Congress 2017

The number of companies exhibiting indoor location technologies at the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) skyrocketed to 33!

Before MWC started, we released our Guide to Indoor Location at MWC, with 23 companies:


During the conference we notified our guide recipients of 10 other indoor location exhibitors that we saw. (Sign up here to receive our guide and to be on our mailing list for next year's MWC.)

This is many more indoor location related exhibits that previous years. The area is growing by leaps and bounds! Our recent report on indoor location technologies analyzed and profiled almost 200 companies!

Here are some videos, so you can see the technologies in action, followed by a list of the other indoor location companies that were at MWC.

First up is Philips Lighting, with high-accuracy indoor location positioning based on LED light modulation and visible light communication (VLC) technology:




Next comes Estimote, makers of Bluetooth (BLE) beacons, who introduced self-mapping b…

See great indoor location tech from the 2017 testbed

The videos from the Indoor Location Testbed at GeoIoT World 2017 are now released! Here is your chance to see how these solutions performed in our real-world evaluation, in the videos below. The testbed evaluated each solution by walking around a real-world venue, the GeoIoT World 2017 conference, measuring performance at 10 pre-selected points.

Click here for the testbed report, which analyzes each solution's performance in a wide variety of metrics, including real-time accuracy, accuracy stabilization, consistency, latency, floor change, first fix, setup time & more.

Let's start with BlooLoc's tag-based solution, which achieved accuracy under 2m in real-time and under 1.5m after stabilization:




Then let's look at the infrastructure-free solution from GipsTech, which achieved accuracy under 2m without using any beacons or radio signals:




Next is GipsTech's solution with BLE added:




Next is BlooLoc's phone-based solution:




Finally, we see Accuware's solution…