Turns out the next most valuable real estate to be developed is indoors. A consortia of 22 companies has banded together to create the In-Location Alliance:
The aim of the In-Location Alliance is to act as a pioneer opening up new business streams for indoor environments. Indoor positioning is the next frontier of mobile services, offering great opportunities to enhance consumer experiences. For the benefit of enterprises, the Alliance will drive a world-wide indoor positioning system for use in major venues. Our pilots, along with technical evaluations, are paramount for driving rapid market adoption.
Founding members include: Broadcom, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Eptisa, Geomobile, Genasys, Indra, Insiteo, Nokia, Nomadic Solutions, Nordic Semiconductor, Nordic Technology Group, NowOn, Primax Electronics, Qualcomm, RapidBlue Solutions, Samsung Electronics, Seolane Innovation, Sony Mobile Communications, TamperSeal AB, Team Action Zone and Visioglobe.
"The indoor location market sits on the cusp of a wave, with the market set to reach a significant number of installations in 2015-2017,” said Patrick Connolly from ABI Research. “With a huge number of proprietary technologies vying for position, the establishment of the In-Location Alliance can encourage innovation, lower costs and, ultimately, widespread adoption of standard based technologies and solutions."
High accuracy indoor positioning (HAIP) and related services aim to do inside what GPS based navigation does outside, and this new landscape for mobile is rich and variegated for consumers and facility owners: from locating shops in a mall, or hard-to-find items in the supermarket, or gates at the airport, to increased local customer identification, enhanced product placement and better customer satisfaction.
HAIP is based on existing technology and, while not expected to significantly increase handset prices, it does require installation of antennae/transmitters in-building.
By creating a collaborative rather than competitive eco-system, the Alliance’s focus is on solutions that maximize accuracy using low-power consumption, and bringing those products to market quickly. They’ll ensure a multivendor environment with open interfaces and a standard-based approach, with primary executions based on technologies already most common in mobile handsets.
Nokia's Jouni Kämäräinen, chair of the In-Location Alliance, emphasized its inherent importance in the future of investment and adoption:
We are seeing the value of cooperation with companies that are interested in bringing out products based on indoor positioning; we are accelerating the market deployment of these indoor positioning solutions and services and with the alliance we can predict that companies will be more willing to invest and start implementing of these features into mobile devices.
Nokia has been a leader in exploring indoor positioning and this video from 2011 showcases their Indoor Navigator that provides indoor location information on a handset without GPS.
Pre-commercial pilots and business model verifications begin this year, with 2013 expected to bring mobile handset-based implementation begetting the first consumer applications in the indoor mobile space.
It’s a curious trajectory from desktop to laptop to hand-held to WiFi to cloud – and now back-down to earth and indoors, the kind of scenario that could no one could ever make up.