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MTI's Indoor Location Positioning Based on Ultrasonic Sound at MWC 2015

Every year I love going to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Besides the hands-on time with new phone models and new technologies, I like to meet with people from all over the world, both in start-up companies and at major companies, that are developing innovative new technologies.

A year ago I reported seeing indoor location positioning technology from a company in Japan called MTI, based on an innovative approach using ultrasonic sound. In a nutshell, MTI deploys small speaker units that transmit ultrasonic sound signatures, that people can't hear but that can be received on a smartphone's microphone. Each speaker unit, acting as a beacon, transmits a unique signal. The MTI application on a smartphone will receive a collection of those signals, from all the speaker units within range, along with volume levels for each signal that indicates how far away the speaker unit is from the phone. Given a database of locations of the speaker units, MTI's system uses multilateration to estimate the location of the phone based on the signals from the speaker units and the known locations of those speaker units.

In 2014, MTI's technology was fairly raw, as can be seen on my video from then. One year later, at MWC 2015, MTI has a polished system that demonstrates indoor location position that is reliable (even in a very noisy environment such as MWC) and fairly accurate. Moreover, MTI has several deployments, and will soon be marketing worldwide. My video of MTI's technology is below.

MTI is a major company in Japan, but this indoor location solution was developed by a small 6 person team. Their progress from MWC 2014 to MWC 2015 is fantastic.

MTI is one of the first companies to bring ultrasonic based indoor location positioning to market, but they're not the only ones working on it. Ultrasonic is one of a dozen or so indoor location technologies, and MTI is one of over 150 companies, analyzed and profiled in the recently updated Grizzly Analytics report on Indoor Location Positioning Technologies. See the Grizzly Analytics blog for more technology from MWC and elsewhere.

Here's the video of MTI's technology at MWC 2015:

Will indoor location positioning reach a "tipping point" and spread through the market in 2015? Will everyone soon be using their phones to navigate around a mall as they now navigate around the countryside? Will Facebook and Twitter know which coffee shop you're checking into, instead of just knowing which shopping mall you're in? Indoor location positioning technologies, from MTI and over 150 other companies, are gaining more strength and market success every day.

Check back soon for more on indoor location technology and other mobile innovations. You can also follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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