Indoor navigation deals with navigation within buildings. Because GPS reception is normally non-existent inside buildings, other positioning technologies are used here when automatic positioning is desired. Wi-Fi or beacons (Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE) are often used in this case to create a so-called “indoor GPS”. Contrary to GPS, however, they also enable you to determine the actual floor level. Most applications require an “indoor routing” functionality that guides people precisely through a building using an indoor navigation app and in this way, automatically determines their position – very similar to the navigation systems that we use in our cars.
A typical application is turn-by-turn navigation in an app (displaying directions on a digital map) used for train stations, airports, shopping centers and museums. This kind of application can also include many other useful services. However, indoor navigation is also possible without automatic positioning – for example, when a digital building map is integrated into a website or in a digital signage system (multi-touch kiosk/interactive terminal). In this case, no location hardware is required (Wi-Fi, beacons).
Indoor navigation with automatic positioning is normally used as a client-based application. This means that the position is determined directly on the smartphone of the user and thus requires an app. The location is determined usually via Wi-Fi or beacons. A feedback channel is also available, for example, for sending push notifications. A server-based approach is also possible, but this comes with technical challenges. Read more about the differences between client-based and server-based positioning here.
Smartphone sensors are always called upon to refine the positioning function – for example, GSM, 3G/4G (LTE), magnetic field, compass, air pressure, barometer, accelerometer and gyroscope.
infsoft offers various web-based tools for managing the digital map and checking the status of beacons, for example. infsoft’s technology is also available as a plugin for integration into existing systems (e.g. apps). An SDK (Software Development Kit) is available for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems and as an HTML5 plugin.
Indoor Navigation – Applications
Indoor navigation is always called for when people want to navigate through complex buildings. However, there are also some interesting visitor services available along with the navigation function.
- In airports, for example, this can include the display of current wait times, the display of detailed information on important points of interest (POIs), the transmission of personalized coupons and/or messages, and support for the entire intermodal travel chain.
- Train stations can inform visitors regarding current delays and track changes.
- In offices, the booking of meeting rooms, the cafeteria layout, a colleague finder or invitation management can be useful added functions.
- In the retail industry, a car finder as well as location-based advertisements and coupons (location based marketing) are useful features.
- Hospitals can integrate the booking of additional services, a calendar with treatment schedules and barrier-free routing into their patient app.
- Trade shows score points with their visitors with information on speakers, exhibits and programs, as well as topic-related tours of the premises.
- Navigation in industrial areas for the drivers of floor conveyors and facility management teams.
Because all infsoft products are integrated into one platform, it is easy to enable additional features, for example, walking route and visitor analyses as well as the tracking of employees and objects.