What is indoor positioning?

An increasing number of companies are using indoor positioning solutions to streamline their operations. The use of such solutions is growing so fast that the market for indoor positioning solutions is estimated to multiply in the coming years.

Have you already heard about indoor positioning? This article is a good place to get started. After reading this text, you will have a good grasp on the basics of indoor positioning.

What is indoor positioning used for?

Indoor positioning provides information on the location of items, devices or people within an indoor space or other limited area. A suitable indoor positioning technology is combined with a user interface to create an indoor positioning solution that meets the needs in question.

The positioning can be implemented as zone-based positioning to identify which area the tracked object is located in or, alternatively, as a more precise positioning that allows identifying the location of the object down to centimetres.

High accuracy positioning (< 1m)
Zone-based positioning (3-30m)
Korkean tarkkuuden paikannus (< 1m)

See the device’s location on a map within centimetres.

Aluetason paikannus (3-30m)

See on a map the areas the devices are located in.

Tracked objects can include forklifts, cranes, robots or other work machines, products, people, semifinished products or containers. In addition to locating objects, data gathered by indoor positioning can be used for analysing routes and material flows or automating various processes based on transitions.

What is indoor positioning needed for?

Many companies still rely on manual record keeping. Warehouse stock, deployment of tools and equipment, the need for maintenance and the actual location of equipment can be found in record keeping – if the records are up to date. However, in practice human error in data entry, forgetfulness, delays and imprecise entries cause various issues: time lost searching for items and solving problems, stress and confusion as well as an actual waste of money and other resources. In addition to this, the data is not necessarily available where it is needed and the processes may not be fluent due to less than optimal locations, needless repetition and overlapping routes.

An indoor positioning solution keeps data up to date without any manual record keeping. Thanks to automatically updated location data, the information of a tracked object is recorded precisely and in real time* and it is always available exactly where it is needed. Other automated entries can also be connected to transitions, according to need.

The old way
Old way of managing assets
The Trackinno way

Automation saves time and money. It also makes optimising processes easier and the energy that used to be spent needlessly solving problems can now be used for more productive and meaningful work!

*Positioning interval varies from seconds to a few minutes depending on the technology and usage situation.

Where can indoor positioning be used?

Indoor positioning can be used in many kinds of environments. The most important thing is that the space can be delimited and the movement of the tracked objects is only monitored within that area. Usual environments include:

Factories

Warehouses

Hospitals

Department stores

Sportive events

Despite its name, indoor positioning can be used for example for tracking objects in a yard in addition to indoor spaces. In such a case, the positioning can usually be implemented at a significantly lower cost compared with GPS positioning.

How is the positioning implemented?

Indoor positioning solutions can be implemented using various technologies depending on the use case. Technologies such as Bluetooth, RFID and WiFi are popular in indoor positioning. On the other hand, known GPS solutions do not allow for reliable positioning in indoor spaces, because buildings weaken the GPS signals of satellites by a considerable degree.

For a company to utilise indoor positioning to their benefit, a suitable technology needs to be combined with a user-friendly interface that enables information to be easily available to the correct users. In most use cases, an indoor positioning solution requires labels called tags and base stations called gateways or locators.

The tags are attached to the tracked objects and their locations are monitored using the locators. The collected data is uploaded to the cloud where it is transformed to an easily usable format and from where it can be accessed using an appropriate user interface.

Various technologies can be used to implement indoor positioning, each with their own strengths and use cases. The customer’s needs for positioning along with the environment affect the choice of technology. Factors that have an impact on the choice include:

Precision of positioning

Positioning environment

Number of tracked objects

Positioning interval

Cost

Identifying the optimal solution involves striking a balance between the benefits and costs. There is no one technology that is suitable for all uses, but the choice is always made based on the needs and use case.

Please read our next article for more information on choosing a suitable indoor positioning solution: “Which factors effect the choice of an indoor positioning solution?”

Interested about indoor positioning?

With Trackinno’s indoor positioning solution, data about your assets and other targets is automatically kept up to date in a reliable way. Get in touch, and we’ll gladly tell you more!

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