FAQ - Indoor Positioning

We have collected all the questions you ask us every day about indoor positioning. Your question is missing? No problem, we are happy to assist you, please contact us.

General

GPS does not work inside buildings, as this technology requires a direct line of sight to the satellites. For the purpose of indoor navigation and tracking, technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy or WiFi can be used. infsoft has developed a proprietary method that evaluates and combines the various sensors of a mobile device with BLE and/or WiFi.

infsoft is a company from Großmehring, near Ingolstadt in Germany, offering indoor positioning solutions and related services such as indoor navigation, indoor analytics, indoor tracking and location 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. infsoft technology is successfully used at airports, trade shows, hospitals, train stations and industrial facilities. Frankfurt Airport, Deutsche Bahn, Messe München International, Vodafone and Swiss Federal Railways are among our clients.

When it comes to Augmented Reality (AR), we understand that this is an eye-catching function. It displays information into the live view of the camera. That might be POI information, coupons or navigation graphs. AR uses the indoor positioning combined with the magnetic field sensor (compass) and inclinometer of the smartphone to determine the user's viewing direction. The problem is, that most facilities (such as malls, airports or railway stations) have strong electro-magnetic fields inside the building that have a negative impact on the sensors of the phone.Therefore such a technology only works properly in very few environments. Furthermore, most users will not walk through the building with the smartphone held up the whole time, but will have a look on the device from time to time to see if they’re still on track. Due to these reasons and our experience in different infrastructures, we do not provide an Augmented Reality mode.

Bluetooth beacons are small radio transmitters which send out signals within 10-30 meters indoors. They are relatively cheap (3-30 Euros) and can be installed with minimal effort. The technology provides an indoor position accuracy of 1-3 meters and runs with a lot of operating systems and devices. The new standard BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is very energy saving. The battery runtime is, depending on parameterization and battery type (button cell, AA battery) 1,5 to 8 years. Beacons can be used for server based and client based indoor positioning projects.

infsoft Locator Nodes are a special hardware which is equipped with a firmware by infsoft. With infsoft Locator Nodes it is possible to track all mobile devices (i.e. smartphones), WiFi enabled devices and Bluetooth beacons (attached to people/goods) inside a building, server based and without an app. It works with all mobile operating systems (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, etc.) and can detect a position with an accuracy of less than 5 meters. infsoft Locator Nodes are perfect for asset tracking and analyzing itineraries.

infsoft Locator Tags are small WiFi and BLE tags which enable capturing and tracking objects and people indoors. 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 or on-premise). In contrast to infsoft Locator Nodes, infsoft Locator Tags are primarily developed for large areas where only a few objects should be captured.

infsoft primarily is a software development company. But for some use cases we apply infsoft Locator Nodes which we sell directly. However, we do not manufacture BLE Beacons and WiFi tags. But we are happy to suggest suppliers to you.

First and foremost, 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 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 indoor positioning systems are even completely offline and do not transfer any position data. Furthermore, operating systems such as iOS do provide a build-in randomization of MAC addresses to protect users’ privacy.

Technical

infsoft’s system architecture is cloud based and offers a high-performance, fail-proof and flexible platform. Some components are also available on-premise.

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, WiFi, Bluetooth, accelerometer…). During the positioning, the device will capture available e.g. WiFi 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 within the building. The evaluation of the position of the device results from the comparison of the reference coordinates of the access points and the measured signal strength. The determination is executed by the server application (e.g.: infsoft Locator Nodes).

Indeed there is. In case of Android devices, WiFi 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 WiFi is not supported by Apple.

Client based: Since the position is calculated solely on the smartphone there is no or very low latency.

Server based: Greatly depends on the circumstances. Please talk to us and we will give you an idea based on your use case.

It depends on the circumstances and requirements of your project. We are looking forward to discuss the details with you.

The accuracy depends strongly on the features of the building (e.g. shielding characteristics) and the amount of available hardware such as WiFi access points and/or Bluetooth Beacons. In simple words: the more hardware – the smaller the grid – the better the accuracy. The position of the device can be pinpointed to 1-3 meter (approx. 3-9 feet) accuracy with beacons, 5-15 meters with WiFi.

There are no specific requirements for the client based indoor positioning. You can use any desired WiFi access points (they even don’t need an internet connection for positioning purposes). The same also goes for the Bluetooth Beacons as long as they are using the BLE standard.

Please note that for the server based positioning you may need specific access points and server components such as the infsoft Locator Nodes. We’re happy to check with you if there are possibilities with your existing infrastructure.

The Bluetooth technology uses FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum) to reduce interferences between wireless technologies sharing the 2.4 GHz spectrum. If the WiFi 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 WiFi network. Channels 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 are recommended.

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.

There are no limitations using a client- or server-based solution from infsoft. Server-based tracking solutions from third-party suppliers may vary.

  • Get in touch!



  • Area Code - Phone Number