Indooratlas, the Oulu, Finland-based indoor positioning startup, announces it has commercially released its magnetic indoor positioning technology at New York's Adweek. To monetize their technology, they're bringing their solution to big box grocery stores and retailers to help customers find specific items in a store, at an accuracy level of 10 feet or less.
There are competing products on the market that can do similar indoor positioning for smartphones, but they don't have IndoorAtlas' ease of setup, nor is their technology as cool. Their competitors require wifi or bluetooth beacons set up throughout the store to provide triangulating signals for accurate positioning, while IndoorAtlas uses the built-in magnetometers in smartphones, which are sensitive enough to pick up the variations in the magnetic field caused by all rebar and steel I-beams that make up modern warehouse shopping centers.
You wouldn't be surprised if the military was using local geomagnetic field characteristics in order to search for underwater submarines. But it's another thing altogether when this type of technology can be put right into your smartphone for completely new uses. That's is what IndoorAtlas has done; by using a similar principle they enable indoor navigation without any anchoring to WiFi nodes. Now they tell is they have just closed roughly €500 000 in funding from both local and US investors.
While the homing pigeon is known for navigating back home over long distances, some other animals, such as the spiny lobster, are able to do the same on a more local level. Research has given some idea that these animals are able to derive positional information from cues that arise from the local anomalies of the Earth's magnetic field. With an accurate compass in every iPhone and Android device, a team of Engineers from the University of Oulu in Finland have created a new breed of indoor positioning technology that does not require WiFi or other beacons, but instead provides a major update to one of Man's oldest navigating technologies.
Using signal processing technology, the university team discovered that steel masses inside buildings twist the Earth's magnetic field such that every spot produces a unique pattern. “Each building, floor and corridor creates a distinct magnetic field disturbance that can be measured to identify a location and generate a map,” explains Dr. Janne Haverinen, the head of the project.
The team realized the practical potential of their findings. To provide a practical solution to be used by smartphone application developers, Dr. Haverinen’s research team has founded IndoorAtlas Ltd to commercialize the innovation. Along with the launch, the company also announces a seed capital investment from the Helsinki-based Vigo accelerator, KoppiCatch.
Last friday Qubulus, the mobile indoor positioning out of Sweden, announced it has completed a funding round led by angel investor Jean Pierre Payat followed by the Swedish government backed investment fund, Innovationsbron. The existing shareholders have also joined the round, including IT consultancy company Jayway, retail re-development company Reteam, as well as Qubulus' management. The size of the investment was undisclosed.
Aside from the funding news, today Qubulus is announcing a new partnership with Crunchfish to add accurate Indoor Positioning support their Hearway app. Together their app basically provides your car's spoken GPS, but for your smartphone.
Automatic check-in apps for Foursquare have been available for some time now, but they all suffer from two major issues; poor accuracy and high battery drainage. To address these problems, Finnish startup Walkbase has introduced Checked, the world’s first indoor positioning client for Foursquare.
Qubulus is a Swedish company producing the engine and algorithms behind what they call QPS, the "Qublus Positioning System". With it, they seek to solve the mobile phone indoor positioning problem that will provide an accurate X, Y and Z level for their own positioning products, and for solutions for developers.
One end-user product they're advertising is Iguana, a workforce collaboration solution that offers you the ability to find and interact with your colleagues, no matter what floor or building they're in. For Developers, Gecko is a tool they've built so anyone can provide indoor positioning in their apps. It's advertised as free to use, and to implement it, basically all you have to do is provide a map of your venue and record a "fingerprints" file by walking through the venue to collect the radio signals.