The Impact of Technology on Indoor Navigation

An indoor positioning system provides an exact object position within closed structures like airports, shopping malls, university campuses, hospitals, and subways. The goal is to give precise and useful indoor maps for navigation purposes.

Indoor location technology allows for greater connectivity between smartphones and more convenience for users. Examples include people attending conferences, friends and families out in a mall shopping. Retailers too, realize the potential that comes with indoor positioning system technologies and are paying keen attention to the new marketing opportunities being offered by this technology.


Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS is the most widely used navigation system in locating the position of objects particularly for the outdoor environment. However, GPS doesn’t work well within indoor setups, mainly due to the presence of physical obstacles that come between the receiver and the transmitting satellite.

As people generally tend to spend lots of their time indoors (environments that are enclosed) GPS is therefore not well suited for tracking positions indoors. GPS for indoors will not work well close to walls and in underground environments because the GPS satellites signal is weak to penetrate through structure, thus making GPS indoors ineffective for localization.


Wi-Fi-Based Indoor Localization

An important benefit of using Wi-Fi Positioning Systems for locating every Wi-Fi compatible device within distance is that it can be achieved without manipulating the hardware or having to install extra software. Beside this, when using W-Fi for indoor locating, a line of sight is not necessary. This has made Wi-Fi positioning systems to be the most widespread indoor localization approach.


System Scalability

In any indoor maps and indoors navigation system, a desirable property is scalability. It is indicative how well the particular system can perform with a larger coverage and with a surge in location requests.

An indoor positioning system that is scalable ought to handle large tag numbers without causing unnecessary system strain. Poor scalability will lead to poor system performance and higher levels of unreliability.


More Opportunities for Indoor Location Services

The majority of the startups currently using location services are found in the retail market largely due to high user demand. However, opportunities exist where positioning technology can be used.

An indoor positioning system could have a positive impact on building efficiency. For instance, the efficiency of home or office heating, cooling, and lighting could be improved through enhanced connectivity interaction with more devices. In a similar way, the accuracy of city underground transportation systems could be increased.


Regardless of the numerous approaches already in place to handle the challenge of indoor navigation, they cannot cope with the levels of performance required. To achieve better results and overcome this shortcoming, more research into more effective indoors navigation approaches assumes even greater significance, while the current technologies must be improved upon.

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