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Broadcom indoor location positioning demo at MWC 2014

Catching up on some of the great technology I saw at the 2014 Mobile
World Congress (MWC) one month ago, here's a video of Broadcom's indoor location positioning technology demo. Broadcom makes chips, and this demo shows one of their chips tracking the location of a phone as it moves around.

UPDATED: The Samsung phone shown here is a Samsung Galaxy S4 that contains a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip, running special software to interact with a Broadcom chip inside the Wi-Fi access points used in the demo, which are also running special software inside. More on this below.

Broadcom's location positioning, in this demo, is based on a technique called Wi-Fi trilateration. This means that the phone starts with a database of locations of Wi-Fi access points, and calculates its own location based on the distances that it computes from each nearby access point. 

Broadcom's primary innovation here is that the trilateration is not done using signal strength, which tends to give only 8-10 meter accuracy in trilateration. Broadcom's system adds to the signals as they're sent from the access points and from the phones, in a way that enables much more precise determination of the distance of the phone to each access point. As this picture shows, a phone with a Broadcom chip measures distance to an access point very close to a professional measuring tool.

This demo uses only Wi-Fi trilateration, without any other techniques (sensor fusion, fingerprinting) integrated. This is why the arrow sometimes faces the wrong direction. This shows the power of their trilateration - presumably they could add sensor fusion as well.

The lack of fingerprinting is very significant. Many indoor location systems need to be fine-tuned for the specific site in which they're deployed, with sample signals collected every few meters throughout the site. This is how most software-only indoor location systems achieve their accuracy. But by working at the hardware level, Broadcom is able to achieve meter-level accuracy based only on a database of access point locations.

To learn more about the technologies used for indoor location positioning and the more than 100 companies researching them and bringing them to market, see our comprehensive report at http://www.grizzlyanalytics.com/report_2014_02_Indoor.html

Here's the video:




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