FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about infsoft and our solutions.
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infsoft is a company from Großmehring, near Ingolstadt in Germany, offering indoor positioning solutions and related services such as indoor tracking, indoor analytics, indoor navigation and geo-based services. The company has been founded in 2005 and is completely owner-managed. We are a full-service provider, but infsoft technology is also available as an SDK. Our solutions are successfully used at airports, industrial facilities, hospitals, train stations and in office environments. Frankfurt Airport, Swiss Federal Railways, Siemens and Roche are among our long-standing clients.
Indoor positioning means the localization of people or objects within buildings.
GPS does not work inside buildings, as this technology requires a direct line of sight to the satellites. Therefore, other positioning technologies are used in order to implement navigation, analytics or tracking solutions within buildings – e.g. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi, Ultra-wideband (UWB) or RFID.
Augmented Reality (AR) is an eye-catching function that displays information into the live view of the camera. This can include POI information, coupons or navigation graphs. AR uses indoor positioning combined with the magnetic field sensor (compass) and inclinometer of the smartphone to determine the user's viewing direction.
As part of our portfolio, we offer NavVis solutions for digital building technology. The system provides three-dimensional images which can be used to implement augmented reality apps. However, it should be noted that in many facilities (such as shopping malls, airports and railway stations) there are strong electromagnetic fields which interfere with smartphone sensors. As a result, AR does not always work properly.
infsoft’s system architecture is cloud-based and offers a high-performance, fail-proof and flexible platform.
infsoft has always been dedicated to privacy for our customers and their end-users. There are several aspects of privacy that are built into our LocAware platform®, such as the use of hash algorithms (SHA-1) to anonymize MAC addresses safely when it comes to tracking and analysis purposes. All position data are stored anonymously on secure cloud servers and will not be shared with any third-party. Client-based (app-based) systems are even completely offline and do not transfer any position data, since positioning takes place on the device itself. Furthermore, operating systems such as iOS do provide a build-in randomization of MAC addresses to protect users’ privacy.
There are no limitations using a client- or server-based solution from infsoft. Server-based tracking solutions from third-party suppliers may vary.
It depends on the circumstances and requirements of your project. We are looking forward to discuss the details with you. Our beacon calculator can provide a rough indication.
The accuracy depends strongly on the features of the building (e.g. shielding characteristics) and the hardware density (Wi-Fi access points, Bluetooth beacons). Simply put: The more hardware – the smaller the grid – the higher the accuracy. The position can be pinpointed to 1-8 meter accuracy with BLE, less than 30 centimeters with UWB and less than 15 meters with Wi-Fi.
Client-based: Since the position is calculated solely on the smartphone, there is no or very low latency.
Server-based: The sampling rate depends on the technology used. Differences occur according to the localization technology (Wi-Fi-based systems, Bluetooth beacons, UWB tracking). Please talk to us and we will give you an idea based on your use case.
This is basically possible, as long as the app isn’t closed completely. However, there will be a greater latency, depending on the operating system.
The costs always depend on the individual application and scope of the project and can vary greatly. The SDKs and infsoft Analytics / Tracking / Automation Engine are licensed annually. In addition, costs are incurred for the installation and digitization of the project as well as the hardware products used. We would be happy to discuss your project with you and prepare a cost estimate for you.
Suitable options for people tracking are the consumer standards Bluetooth Low Energy (e.g. people carrying beacons in the form of an ISO card or wristband) and Wi-Fi (localization of the Wi-Fi client, usually a smartphone or tablet). On the other hand, there are also possibilities in which no personal data is collected, for example the use of presence detectors or infrared thermographic cameras.
Basically, there are several possibilities for evaluating the use of office space. The most common methods are utilization analyses based on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy (more information in this blog post). The current room occupancy can also be determined by installing infrared thermographic cameras, for example.
The analysis of walking and travel paths – e.g. in a production plant – can help with route and process optimization and provide important key figures for decisions. Such a tracking system can be based on Ultra-wideband (very well suited for industrial applications due to the high accuracy of less than 30 cm) or Bluetooth Low Energy.
Exemplary use case: Indoor Navigation and Tracking of Tugger Trains
Yes. infsoft Locator Nodes can be installed in a robust and weatherproof outdoor housing.
LoRa/BLE tags are also very well suited for outdoor implementations. A major advantage here is that the tags are battery-powered, do not need to be wired and no power supply or individual connections via Ethernet or WLAN are required.
There are 2 indoor positioning technologies to be distinguished: client-based positioning and server-based positioning.
In case of a client-based positioning, a reference map with measurement points will be created during the calibration process. For the measurement, a variety of available smartphone sensors and external signalers will be used (GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, accelerometer…). During the positioning, the device will capture available e.g. Wi-Fi and/or BLE signals and compare them to the reference map. As a result of this comparison, the position can be calculated and defined directly on the device.
In case of a server-based positioning, the MAC address or UUID of the device will be captured from different access points or infsoft Locator Nodes within the building. The evaluation of the position of the device results from the comparison of the reference coordinates of the Locator Nodes and the measured signal strength. The determination is executed by a server application.
In order to enable wayfinding within buildings, Wi-Fi or beacons (Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE) are used in most cases. Unlike GPS, these technologies also allow determining the current floor level.
Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 is a proven, particularly energy-efficient standard that paved the way for numerous RTLS and IoT solutions (beacon tracking, indoor navigation with beacons). The new 5.1 version of the Bluetooth specification enables use cases for direction finding and centimeter-accurate server-based positioning (with given line-of-sight). BLE 4.0 is recommended for office buildings, hospitals etc., BLE 5.1 is more suitable for asset tracking in open spaces (e.g. large industrial halls). Bluetooth 4.0 provides accuracies of a few meters, Bluetooth 5.1 of less than 1 meter.
With server-based applications, positioning is influenced by various restrictions. Depending on whether the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network or not, there are different latency times. Furthermore, the random generation of MAC addresses ("MAC Randomization") can influence the significance of the data collected.
In most cases not. Wi-Fi is designed for data communication and not for localization. An access point is set to max. transmission power and is usually mounted high up to cover a large area. This is exactly the opposite of what is required for localization (different signal characteristics are mandatory here). In addition, the prerequisite for a trilateration is not fulfilled (at least three access points would be required for this, but there is usually not even one AP per room). If existing access points are used, they must be enabled for positioning (e.g. Cisco CMX).
The Bluetooth technology uses FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum) to reduce interferences between wireless technologies sharing the 2.4 GHz spectrum. If the Wi-Fi network is properly configured, it should not interfere with the BLE signal. As a best practice example, it makes sense to avoid the channels 2, 3, 4, 13 and 14 when configuring the Wi-Fi network. Channels 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 are recommended.
There are two possibilities: Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) and Two Way Ranging (TWR). They differ in terms of scalability, robustness, battery life and operability. More info here
The position determination via Ultra-wideband is based on a transit time method (Time of Flight). If there is no direct line of sight between anchor (Locator Node) and UWB tag, positioning accuracy may differ due to reflection behavior.
Firstly, a constant power supply is required when using UWB. Secondly, UWB tags do not qualify as wearables, as they are not small and handy enough for this purpose and cannot be carried in a pocket (since UWB tracking always requires direct line of sight).
RFID (radio-frequency identification) uses radio waves to wirelessly transmit the identity (e.g. serial number) of an object. RFID systems offer a limited range of less than one meter and passive RFID tags require a reader (infsoft Locator Node) wherever their position is to be determined. As a result, it is not possible to provide exhaustive, but only selective localization (e.g. "object has passed checkpoint A").
Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) is a low-power wireless system designed for IoT devices. It is characterized by a high reception range between transmitter and receiver of approximately 2.5 kilometers in the inner-city area. Furthermore, short, bi-directional communication thrusts are characteristic for LoRaWAN. It reaches a battery life of 1 to 15 years, depending on the application. Depending on the amount of data and the spreading factor, transmission is only possible with higher latencies (approx. 30 seconds to 5 minutes), which makes the technology unsuitable for live tracking systems. LoRaWAN can be used for indoor positioning in the form of LoRa/BLE tags in combination with BLE beacons, for example.
Indeed there is. In case of Android devices, Wi-Fi and BLE can be used for indoor positioning. In case of using iOS devices, only BLE can be used for positioning due to the fact that positioning via Wi-Fi is not supported by Apple.
Yes, the infsoft LocAware platform® is an open interface system that can bi-directionally connect data from third-party applications such as ERP.
All interactions within the infsoft LocAware platform® can be called via Web Services and Web Sockets. This means that data can be integrated or transferred into your own IT systems at any time. An overview of the interfaces can be found in the infsoft Developer Hub.
Intelligent process automation is made possible by geofencing. Using the infsoft Automation Engine, various geo-based triggers can be defined along the process chain to simplify and accelerate operational processes. For example, messages and tasks can be configured, warnings triggered or areas protected by automatic door locking / unlocking.
Exemplary use case: Container Management in Automotive Production
Bluetooth beacons are small radio transmitters that can be used for both server-based and client-based indoor positioning applications. They are inexpensive (3-30 Euros) and can be installed with minimal effort. The technology provides an indoor position accuracy of 1-3 meters in client-based and less than 8 meters in server-based scenarios (less than 1 meter with Bluetooth 5.1). Bluetooth Low Energy runs with a lot of operating systems and devices and is very energy-efficient. The battery runtime is, depending on parameterization and battery type (button cell, AA battery) 1,5 to 8 years.
infsoft Locator Nodes are modular hardware components which are equipped with a firmware by infsoft. With infsoft Locator Nodes it is possible to track all mobile devices (i.e. smartphones), Wi-Fi enabled devices and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons (attached to people/goods) inside a building, server-based and without an app. High-precision solutions in industrial environments based on Ultra-wideband (UWB) can also be implemented. In addition, you can connect an RFID reader or an external camera system, which allows a correlation with location-based data. The infsoft Locator Nodes transfer the captured data to the infsoft LocAware platform® for indoor analytics, indoor tracking and geo-based services.
infsoft Locator Nodes function as Bluetooth gateways, which means that they can configure / read out each Bluetooth-enabled device within the location. Thus, all IoT devices can be controlled and managed using the Locator Nodes. Third parties can use the entire Locator Node infrastructure as a huge distributed Bluetooth transmitter in the building.
infsoft Locator Nodes AoA use Angle of Arrival technology for real-time measurement of the direction of a radio signal emitted by a mobile 2.4 GHz transmitter (e.g. a beacon). Based on the determined angle and distance, the position of an object equipped with such a transmitter can be calculated with an accuracy of 1 to 3 meters.
infsoft Locator Beacons are fixed, battery-powered hardware components that can be easily integrated into an RTLS infrastructure consisting of infsoft Locator Nodes and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and enable various time-delayed object tracking applications. In addition to asset tracking, infsoft Locator Beacons can also serve as a beacon infrastructure for indoor navigation and location-based services.
Sensor tags are mainly used to implement condition monitoring systems. Operating and condition data are gathered by suitable sensors (e.g. CO2, temperature, light, air pressure) for the purpose of continuous monitoring and documentation of parameters.
infsoft UWB Tags are small Ultra-wideband components which enable capturing and tracking objects and people indoors and outdoors with high precision. They are also suitable for analyzing walking routes. Much like infsoft Locator Nodes, they work with server-based installations, which means that the position is determined on a server (cloud).
There are no specific requirements for the client-based indoor positioning. You can use any desired Wi-Fi access points (they even don’t need an internet connection for positioning purposes). The same also goes for Bluetooth beacons as long as they are using the BLE standard.
Please note that for server-based positioning you may need specific access points and server components such as infsoft Locator Nodes. We’re happy to check with you if there are possibilities using your existing infrastructure.
Yes. Only a few infsoft Locator Nodes have to be measured manually, whilst the remaining Nodes are than able to automatically locate themselves (via UWB and pressure sensors).