Nokia seeking to advance indoor positioning with In-Location Alliance

Nokia has announced today a big link up with more than twenty tech firms to create an In-Location Alliance.  The Alliance was created to advance efforts to promotion of a new standard-based short-range wireless technology that will make it possible to locate objects or positions indoors with extremely high accuracy using mobile devices.

Remember our article about Nokia becoming the Where platform? Well, this just shows how serious Nokia is about this technology. Navigation outside has become something we take for granted, the next big step is high accuracy location inside. There are a number of hurdles to overcome and Nokia is doing the right thing here and establishing an alliance to get things moving. The potential applications for this type of location-based services are likely even more far reaching than its outside variant.

We spoke before with Nokia about the broad idea of places. In that regard we spoke of places as things like home and work. With the advent of this type of technology, that list of places can grow even more. From finding specific things in shops to whizzing you through an airport at the same time as giving you an ETA for you reaching your boarding gate, these services set to get even more powerful.

The In-Location Alliance will work together in three areas of indoor location services:

  • Continue working together on system architecture based on a standard based indoor positioning solution.
  • Alliance members will prepare and execute pre-commercial pilots and practical demonstrations starting in the second half of 2012.
  • Alliance members will brainstorm and evaluate new use cases and new business opportunities based on indoor positioning technology.

The High Accuracy Indoor Positioning (HAIP) technology Nokia is looking to employ is based on Bluetooth 4.0, they say that even in its current form it will have accuracy of one meter. That’s certainly good enough for general positioning inside, it gets much more interesting when they say with modification that can get down to 20cm. Compared to what we have right now that is serious pin point accuracy that’s likely to see industry application for stock control. 

According to Jukka Rantala, who worked on the commercialization of HAIP for Nokia, 

“We are building an eco-system for companies to bring the indoor positioning solution to every building in the world and therefore we need to have companies who are representing different roles in the value chain, like telecom operators, system manufacturers, application developers and handset manufacturers other than Nokia.”

The potential for HAIP is vast covering using your Windows Phone at an airport to guide you to your departing flight to being used in a retail store to locate a particular item to finding your seat at a concert.

We know you guys can’t wait for these advances in location based services. Nokia seems quite confident that this technology will be available sooner rather than later.  With members like Samsung and Broadcom, we’re not surprised they are talking about practical demonstrations for the second half of this year.

Source: Nokia Conversations

Robert Brand