Just as people are using mobile phones to navigate from one outdoor location to the other, this is also becoming the standard for indoor venues: major airports and events are already using indoor location technology for locating objects and people inside a building through wireless technology. Different industry verticals are also adopting the technology, including retail, manufacturing and logistics.
The current indoor positioning and navigation technology industry is led by a host of technology providers, such as HERE Technologies, Nextome, IndoorAtlas and indoo.rs. This last company was recently acquired by location intelligence company Esri, that will integrate its technology into a new indoor mapping product.
Indoo.rs technology solutions
Indoo.rs is an Austrian provider of real-time indoor positioning solutions for mobile apps. The company was founded in 2010 under the name CustomLBS, after two students decided to make localization of amenities airports more easy. Currently, the company has 20 employees, including an R&D department and two development teams. Customers using indoo.rs technology include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Siemens Building Technologies, and Konica Minolta.
The company currently offers indoor positioning, mapping and analytics solutions. The indoor positioning system consists of a smartphone app where visitors can locate themselves on a digital building map and route to a Point of Interest (POI). Three different technologies are used for locating a device indoors: iBeacons, Sensor Fusion and SLAM Engine technology. iBeacon is a technology developed by Apple that allows mobile apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, whereas SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) Engine technology uses a smart algorithm to speed up the mapping of a building in order to reduce costs. The company is currently working on a crowd-sourced version of this technology named SLAM Crowd Engine, that will automatically implement changes in floor plans using anonymized data from mobile phones inside a building.
Indoo.rs’ acquisition by Esri does not come as a complete surprise, as it was already an Esri partner before it got acquired and had built its indoor experiences around mapping technology. The company’s competitiveness in the indoor navigation and positioning market will definitely give Esri a head start in this rapidly emerging market, also because indoo.rs Vienna headquarters will serve as a new R&D center focused on IPS capability.
The acquisition has consequences for clients of both companies, as Esri’s ArcGIS platform will be imbedded with indoo.rs indoor positioning system location services and vice versa. However, the most important consequence of the acquisition is the integration of indoo.rs’ software into Esri’s ArcGIS Indoors mapping product. ArcGIS Indoors has been announced in 2018, but has not yet seen an official release. ArcGIS Indoors enables interactive indoor mapping of corporate facilities, retail and commercial locations, airports, hospitals, event venues, universities and more. Its initial release will include nthe acquired indoo.rs IPS capability to enable ArcGIS Indoors mobile apps to work with iBeacon-based IPS systems, which provides “blue dot” accuracy on mobile devices.