What is an Indoor Positioning System?
We all know the features of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which enable users to locate a place, thing, or people on the surface of the earth. GPS uses satellite signals to locate a thing. But GPS is unreliable in interior spaces ie) under the roof, as there is no visual contact with the satellites. There we use Indoor positioning technology (IPS). In other words, Indoor Positioning System (IPS) is a system of network-connected devices which is used for the wireless location of objects and persons inside buildings and covered areas. Generally, IPS varies in functionality by means of visual contact, radio-frequency, magnetic field, sound, etc.
Types of Indoor Positioning technologies & systems
In the world market, there are multiple technologies that can be used for indoor tracking and positioning. These include radio-based, optical, magnetic, and acoustic technologies with respect to their functionality. Each technology offers a wide range of systems like
- Radio – Ultra-wideband (UWB)
- Bluetooth mesh beacons (BLE),
- UHF RFID (Radio frequency ID),
- WiFi indoor positioning system (Wireless Fidelity)
- Optical – Video camera sensors
- Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
- Infrared light pulses
- Visible Light Communications (VLC)
- Using magnetic wave strength;
- Acoustic Ultrasounds (echolocation)
Types of indoor positioning system vs RFID:
Of all the above Bluetooth indoor positioning system offerings, mesh beacons and RFID are mostly preferred by customers worldwide.
RFID – It has the ability to sense at a frequency range of 3-5 meters per reader and at a reader range of 1-5 feet. Generally, RFID reader costs in the range of $1500-$2000. They consume comparatively more power and have quite a long battery life.
Bluetooth Low Energy – BLE can read 5-50 meter range per reader. Each reader can capture up to 20 feet range. They cost about $30-$70. Indoor positioning beacons are the least power-consuming with a replaceable battery life of 2-5 years.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is projected as one of the most promising segments of the Indoor Positioning software Market.
Segments where best indoor positioning technology is most popular
The indoor positioning technologies and systems are a much-needed solution for industries where maximum deployment happens. These are the segments where IPS is used the most,
- Industry & Logistics – The Indoor Positioning System (IPS) provides location-relevant data and helps streamline logistics visibility and inventory management.
- Offices & Smart Buildings – In smart buildings (e.g. office environments), Indoor positioning solutions can simplify internal processes and lead to cost savings.
- Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals – Hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, and other healthcare facilities benefit from the implementation of the system by reducing patient wait times, and enhancing staff productivity.
- Travel & Transportation – The system can be used for various things like indoor navigation and for monitoring passenger flows..
- Automotive & Assembly – Services related to indoor positioning ensure smooth production processes in the automotive industry.
- Mining & Construction – Indoor positioning can be used during the construction site safety and maintenance of tunnels and other structures.
- Retail & Consumption – In retail, solutions for indoor positioning not only deliver added value for customers but also help coordinate internal processes such as pallet & forklift tracking
Barriers to adopting Bluetooth Indoor Positioning technologies
Besides the fact that these industry segments could benefit widely from the system, there are some barriers for industry owners to adopt the system.
An Investment – Though precise Indoor Positioning technologies are an investment, it is not a one-off payment but a subscription product. Each tag and reader should be subscribed periodically as per the vendor plans. Secondly, the installation of the system is a time-consuming task. Most industries are refraining to use IPS due to this cost and time consumption.
Maintenance – There is no need for special maintenance for beacons usually other than a new battery occasionally. In fact, the best BLE actually runs five to eight years per battery change. However, the workload for changing batteries goes up when the number of beacons is high.
Finding the right service provider – Since setting up the system is expensive, it is necessary to find the right provider who can cater to one’s needs. The buyer should also have knowledge about the technology type and power consumption.
Low interference indoor positioning
Bad positioning is not at all an Indoor Positioning – A new buyer should always seek a provider that has a good business record because a bad provider with bad technology can provide ambiguous information and navigation.
The Bluetooth Indoor Positioning technologies and Industry have been gradually adopted by various retailers, hospitals, warehouses, and manufacturing units. Thus, the industry shows a steady growth phase. indoor positioning companies provide asset, production inventory, construction site safety, workflow management solutions.