Procedure of an Indoor Positioning Project in 8 Steps
As a full service provider, infsoft can support you throughout the entire process of your project. In order to provide you with an idea of the individual steps and the duration, we have broken down a typical IPS (indoor positioning system) project into its individual components for you. The average implementation time is between 2 and 8 weeks (project coordination not included). However, this can vary depending on the industry and the circumstances. In most cases, a proof of concept (POC) is carried out first, so that the solution can be tested on site.
In the following, we illustrate the project procedure with a concrete example: In a complex office building, a tracking system shall be used to optimize the inventory of office equipment.
Specification of Customer Needs
We identify the needs of your company together with you in the first project meeting. In this regard, we take into account the industry and the target group(s). We focus on the question “What specific problem do you want to solve?”
In our example, assets in an office environment are to be inventoried. It should be possible to determine at any time where the assets are, how much inventory is available and whether the objects leave the premises or a certain area.
After visiting onsite, we can then plan the next step towards a solution suggestion and the mapping of the location.
infsoft presents various options, then we have a discussion regarding which solution is feasible and makes the most sense. This includes possible problems that stand in the way (technical limitations, privacy concerns, soft factors such as employee acceptance). The total requirements are then broken down into several packages. The complete process will then progress through each package.
In our example, an exact inventory management of office equipment is desired. Departments should be able to view the location and status of equipment and inventories at all times. As a solution, we would suggest two components:
- A tracking system that enables the localization of goods (furniture, office supplies, technical equipment, etc.) in real time (server-based positioning). The position and properties of the objects can be displayed in a web interface at any time.
- Theft protection or loss prevention by setting up geo-based process logics: An alarm is triggered when an object to be tracked leaves a defined area (geofencing).
Selection of Technology
The selection of the method and hardware for indoor positioning is of central importance for the project. A distinction here is made between a client-based and server-based approach. The technology we use are in most cases beacons, Wi-Fi, Ultra-wideband (UWB) and/or RFID tags in conjunction with infsoft Locator Nodes and optionally infsoft Locator Beacons. It always depends on the intended purpose and the conditions on site.
- Client-based: Positioning takes place on the user’s smartphone. This requires an app that evaluates signals from beacons or Wi-Fi access points. A back channel is also available, e.g. for sending push notifications. Examples: passenger app, indoor navigation, location-based services, etc.
- Server-based: Positioning takes place via infsoft Locator Nodes or infsoft Locator Tags that receive positioning signals and forward them to the infsoft LocAware platform®. The server then calculates the respective locations. An app is not required. Examples: route analyses, asset and person tracking, generation of movement profiles.
In our example, we recommend a server-based procedure with infsoft Locator Nodes and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. Beacons are particularly suitable due to their low costs per unit, minimal installation effort and long battery life. We would recommend the use of a particularly power-saving model whose operating mode – thanks to an integrated accelerometer – is only active when the object is moving.
The next step is to digitalize your building. We would then require your building plans in a common format (e.g. .jpg, .png, .pdf, AutoCAD). infsoft then records the plans in the Maps Editor, defines route networks and enters the important locations (POIs). Then colors are used as per your corporate design specifications and the abstraction level of the plans is defined. You can then carry out any additional data management yourself (e.g. when there are changes).
Hardware Installation / Site Inspection
We support the onsite installation and make sure that any special features that must be taken into account during installation and hardware parameterization are taken care of (e.g. shielding).
Calibration of Positioning
Calibration routes are defined in infsoft Calibration based on the hardware being used. Calibration takes place on site via the Calibration app, which records the required data for subsequent positioning. Then the calibration results are checked and optimized if necessary. You team can also perform this step if desired.
We develop a solution in close coordination with you while presenting you with regular preliminary results along the way. Closed user group tests make sure that errors are found and corrected before release.
Solutions from infsoft can be used for many different applications.
Training & Support
During rollout, we support you in the background regarding the best possible use of the tools so that you will be able to act on your own in the future. This can take the form of onsite training or a web meeting, for example. We would also be happy to help with internal and external communication with employees and customers.
The continuous analysis of customer needs and feedback enables you to identify new, useful functions and plan upcoming releases. In our example, this could be an occupancy tracking for different office/meeting rooms and/or an individual app with features such as indoor navigation, colleague finder, room booking function, etc.