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Indoor Location, GeoFencing and Retail (Updated w/ video)

We've written a lot about indoor location technology, which is bringing location services indoors where GPS doesn't work. And we've written more recently about GeoFencing, a new location technology that enables smartphones to display content or take other actions when entering a specified area. And a few weeks ago we wrote about a company that was bringing the two together.

Now Aisle411 has entered the ring, adding GeoFencing to their indoor solution. And they're bringing GeoFencing to life in the retail store industry.

Aisle411's solution lets you navigate your way around a store to find specific products on the shelves. You can even enter your whole shopping list, or the items you need for a recipe, and the app will guide you around the store to buy everything you need quickly.  

And here's where the GeoFencing comes in:  As you near certain products, you'll get offers for related products on your smartphone screen. They might be as simple as a sale on Corn Flakes as you near the cereal, but it can also be more interesting, like a sale on marinara sauce when you're standing in front of the pasta.

Their GeoFencing can also offer promotions when users enter particular zones of a store, like the pharmacy section or the meat section. 

One reason that Aisle411 seems to really understand retail is that they're not an indoor location company that got into retail, they're a retail application company that got into indoor location.  The company used to deliver retail apps with store maps, but without indoor location.  They have maps for over 10,000 stores.  They then acquired indoor location technology from WiLocate, and got into the indoor location space as well.

Aisle411's indoor location technology is based on Wi-Fi fingerprinting, like many other companies in the area.  They've augmented that with sensor fusion, detecting movement using sensors in the phone, and also map integration based on their store maps.  Their sensor fusion and map constraints enable their apps to work on iPhone, not just Android. We've written before about sensor fusion enabling indoor location to work on iPhones, and it's good to see it coming to market.

Here it is in action near CES:



To really understand these mobile technology areas and how the technology will be developing in upcoming months, see our reports on Indoor Location Positioning and GeoFencing.  Both reports analyze research in progress at major mobile companies and start-ups world-wide, to understand not only today's technology but tomorrow's.

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