Photo Credit: www.indooratlas.com
How many times have you wandered aimlessly in the PATH downtown Toronto, wishing that there was some kind of indoor GPS to give you a hand. That’s where IndoorAtlas comes in. Its fancy new technology uses a building’s magnetic field to help you navigate indoors and find a meeting room, a product on your grocery store’s shelf, or your way out of an intricate maze (otherwise known as the PATH).
Fast Company’s coverage of IndoorAtlas touches on a point we think is going to get a lot of attention: indoor GPS marketing. Brands will certainly want to participate in indoor GPS technology if it means that they could “lead” their customers to their product in a grocery store aisle or to their storefront in a mall.
The marketing side of IndoorAtlas doesn’t seem like it has quite arrived yet, but the possibility is there!
Here’s what Alice Troung had to say in Fast Company:
“With today’s technology, it seems like almost every bit of Earth has been mapped–even parts of the underwater world. But it’s a different story inside buildings. With the accuracy of GPS faltering indoors and radio waves providing marginal improvement, navigating inside isn’t as simple as firing up a maps application.
IndoorAtlas believes it has found a solution to this problem–by tapping into the magnetic field, which for millions of years has been guiding turtles, whales, salmon, and other migratory animals. Enabled by ultra-accurate positioning, IndoorAtlas believes product-proximity ads could be the next forefront of advertising. The company opened up its magnetic-field API Wednesday and said its mapping app will soon arrive for iOS and Android.
IndoorAtlas originated in the academic world. Founder and CEO Janne Haverinen, a professor at Finland’s University of Oulu, began studying indoor robot navigation in the late ’90s. Noticing that buildings’ magnetic distortions were leading his machines astray, he eventually turned the problem around and focused his attention on the magnetic interferences caused by steel structures. What he found was that the disturbances inside them were consistent, creating a magnetic fingerprint unique to a building. That became the crux of IndoorAtlas, which leverages what Haverinen calls “nature’s GPS”–GPS that requires no infrastructure beyond a smartphone and works where no cellular connections exist.
… Because IndoorAtlas doesn’t require additional infrastructure, such as the installation of wireless access points, the technology can be easily leveraged by retailers, which so far has been the major use case for magnetic-field mapping. (In addition to retail and mines, IndoorAtlas says its maps could be used to guide rescue efforts, museum tours, or navigation for the blind. Of course, it’s up to developers to create these apps.) It takes about one to two hours to map a store’s aisles, and the information can be used to help consumers locate items on a shopping list. Earlier this year, IndoorAtlas partnered with Finnish grocery chain Fonella, which used magnetic-field mapping to build an app for tablets installed on its shopping carts. The app helps shoppers find products and also surfaces relevant advertising for nearby products–the premise for product-proximity advertising, which IndoorAtlas showcased Wednesday at Advertising Week.”
- Read the entire Fast Company article.