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OPLIN 4cast #534: Indoor location

Posted in 4cast

Without giving it much thought, most of us have become regular users of location services in the past few years. Everytime we use GPS with our cellphones, we have allowed location technology to find our device so our device can tell us where we are on a map. While location services work great in the outdoors, indoors their performance is not as robust, because of the roof between the mobile device user and a satellite. But there is growing demand for indoor location services, and the fact that we now have a competition taking place between cell service and wi-fi to provide better indoor location says a lot about the size of that demand.

  • Indoor positioning data is increasingly important for services, testing (RCR Wireless News | Kelly Hill)  “The Federal Communications Commission in 2015 adopted rules mandating improved accuracy in reporting cellular users’ location – including the ability to identify the height at which a user is located, with requirements phased in until 2024. In order to help cellular operators meet those requirement, industry trade group CTIA is working on indoor location testing with its 911 Location Test Bed.”
  • Wi-Fi expanding to indoor location services (Network World | Patrick Nelson)  “Tracking high-value equipment and stopping consumers from getting lost are among the uses for an improved system, Wi-Fi Alliance [WFA] says. Geofencing also becomes practical. That’s where artificial boundaries prompt actions, such as an alert when a device crosses a cutoff point. And, of course, advertising and marketing stand to benefit from it. Using ‘hyperlocal marketing,’ businesses push targeted ads or special offers to consumers as they move around.”
  • Wi-Fi, LTE spar over location (EE Times | Rick Merritt)  “The WFA certified baseband silicon from Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, Mediatek, Qualcomm and Realtek for what it calls Wi-Fi Location. The approach measures signal timestamps with nanosecond accuracy to deliver location data typically within a meter using the Fine Timing Measurement protocol from IEEE 802.11-2016. Another Wi-Fi standard in the works, 802.11az, could offer centimeter accuracy in a few years.”
  • Wi-Fi Location promises precision (Network Computing | Marcia Savage)  “Other methods for determining indoor location are primarily based on measuring signal strength, but simple RSSI [received signal strength indicator] measurements run into accuracy problems when the signal is weak, [WFA VP of marketing Kevin] Robinson said. In that case, it’s hard to know if you’re far away or whether a wall is obstructing the signal. RSSI fingerprinting is more accurate, but requires site surveys, which become expensive, he said. The alliance touts Wi-Fi Location as enabling location-based services on existing WiFi infrastructure; there’s no need for beacons, for example.”

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