Geolocation of people and vehicles outdoors using GPS has been a fully assimilated and widely used technology for years to make better use of our time and resources. As visitors, we use it walking or driving when we move around a place we don’t know. As companies, we use it to locate vehicles and employees in real time to know where they are and to check if tasks are being executed correctly. But what happens with indoor location systems for apps with indoor navigation and solutions for employee indoor tracking inside buildings, where the GPS doesn’t work?
Indoor GPS: What do we need for indoor positioning?
First of all, we must remember that, in order to geolocate indoors, we cannot use the GPS signal, as the signal from the satellites is not able to pass through the structure of the buildings.
Secondly, that what is really located are not people, but devices, which in most cases are usually smartphones. Everyone has one mobile phone (at least), so an indoor location system for smartphones guarantees us full coverage for our solution.
Thirdly, it will be essential that this smartphone has an application installed. This app will be of greater or lesser complexity depending on the added functionalities you want to offer the user. For example, in the application of a hospital you may want to take advantage of it to facilitate the user’s access to his medical history, while in the application of a shopping centre you will want to take advantage of it for promotions, and in an airport for travel-related information.
Real-time location: The basis of the system
However, the basis for improving the visitor experience by guiding them or optimizing a company’s processes inside a large building by monitoring employees is the real-time location system or RTLS.
Many apps provide guidance to a visitor in a shopping centre, hospital, airport or exhibition centre to their destination, but do so only if the visitor indicates the starting point. The problem is that many times we do not know where we are.
Alternatives for indoor location in real time.
There are different alternatives to locate indoors in real time. Some, such as ultrawideband, allow location with centimetre accuracy, but require a very high infrastructure investment that increases implementation and maintenance costs.
Other alternatives are based on the trilateration of signals emitted by devices such as beacons or routers. Their main disadvantage is their low precision and the maintenance effort they require.
In relation to these alternatives, Situm’s indoor positioning system is different from them because it provides a more robust solution thanks to its own developed algorithm.
This algorithm, developed by the company’s founders, allows smartphones to be located in real time by combining three types of signals:
- WiFi and Bluettooth signals provided by the infrastructure already implemented in most large buildings.
- Magnetic field values at different points in each building.
- Data collected by the inertial sensors of the mobile phone.
This way, Situm’s technology allows locating a person with an average accuracy of around 5 meters, much more than enough to guide a visitor or track an employee in large building.
Indoor navigation: More than just guiding the visitor.
Thanks to this location, and to the tools included in Situm IPS platform (such as the polygonal geofence for the creation of localized promotions, for example) the user experience during their transit through our facilities can be significantly improved, also making it easier to monetize their visit.
On the other hand, the system provides information on the number of visitors, duration of visits or areas with more traffic. All this information allows the manager of the spaces to distribute it more appropriately to the user’s habits, or even a better staff distribution according to the flow forecasts that can be made thanks to all the information recorded in the system.
Indoor monitoring: Location of employees for higher profitability of the facilities.
But indoor location does not only serve to improve the visitor’s experience. The location and monitoring of employees through Situm’s indoor positioning system opens the door to greater profitability and process security:
- Allowing to check if all employees have been where they should be thanks to the data stored about their activity.
- Facilitating a better reaction to unforeseen events, since everyone’s location can be viewed on a single panel.
- Ensuring access control to restricted areas.
- Increasing the security of workers through intelligent alarms such as the panic button or the man down alert.
In conclusion, indoor location is already a technology that allows a better visitor experience thanks to indoor navigation, better use of space thanks to geo-analytics, and more efficient management of work teams thanks to indoor tracking. Situm also achieves this with solutions of highest precision, minimal infrastructure and fast deployment.
If you want to check how Situm’s indoor location works, you can try it for free at https://situm.com/en/try-us/