SIGNUL: When BLE Beacons Provide Personal Geofencing

Bluetooth Low Energy “beacons“ are used in connection with smartphones by shops, transport and many other vetical markets for proximity sensing and micro location. But there could be a more “personal“ use to this low cost technology.

IOT Design Shop, a startup based in Vancouver, Canada, has developed SIGNUL, a bluetooth low energy beacon made to automate personal tasks. SIGNUL creates micro location zones (geofences) that trigger a task upon entering or exiting a place (home, car, office, etc.): launch apps, send messages, open a website, etc…

SIGNUL was initially launched on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo in November 2014 and the beacon ($50 apiece) is now shipping.

SIGNUL also announced today their integration with IFTTT Channel, allowing many more actions to be triggered by entering or exiting a zone defined by a SIGNUL beacon.

Invensense: From MEMS to Retail Analytics

MEMS vendor Invensense has made today a surprising move in announcing Coursa Retail, an indoor shopper location analytics and retargeting service for Brick and Mortar retailers.

Coursa Retail integrates into the retailer’s mobile customer application and uses existing motion tracking sensors in shopper smartphones to deliver insights into individual and aggregated shopper behavior in stores by recording and tracking the shopper’s path and dwell time at all points in a retail store.

“Coursa Retail is the first Software as a Service (SaaS) platform from InvenSense focused on indoor location analytics,â€? said Eitan Medina vice president marketing and product management at InvenSense.

“Insights from our platform can be turned into actions and monetized by retailers, enabling them to increase conversion and loyalty by retargeting customers from in-store missed conversions. The data from Coursa Retail can also optimize merchandising, store planning and staffing decisions.â€?

Coursa Retail just requires one bluetooth beacon placed at the entrance of the store (likely to wake up the app in the background) and the rest is operated by the SDK located in the retailer’s app.

Invensense is leveraging their MEMS sensor fusion know-how in various areas. A few months ago the company launched another software platform, Coursasports, to improve location accuracy and reduce battery consumption in smartphone and smartwatch health and fitness apps (read more here).

HERE Grows Coverage of Indoor Maps

The acquisition of digital map vendor HERE by a consortium of German car makers could indicate that pedestrian maps are not a focus of HERE any more. Actually it does not seem so.

Based on a recent discussion with HERE even car makers seem interested in indoor maps to provide pedestrian directions out of the car to bring drivers to their final destination on feet.

As an example, Garmin is using HERE’s indoor maps to direct drivers to the nearest parking area when the destination entered is a specific shop in a shopping mall.

GPS Business News caught up with the latest development on that front with Joseph Leigh, Head of “Venue Maps“ at HERE.

GPS Business News: How many indoor location maps are you offering nowadays?

Joseph Leigh: We have mapped 90,000 buildings at 13,000 venues, in 86 countries. The total footprint is 1.1 billion sqm.

GPS BN: What is the regional segmentation?

JL: Roughly 50% of our venue maps are in North America and 35% are in Europe. The rest are spread around the world, across 86 countries.

GPS BN: What is the vertical segmentation, meaning per type of venue?

JL: Roughly 70% of our venue maps are retail specific. We also have mapped over: 2,000 train stations, 1,900 universities, 350 airports (including the world’s largest airports), 300 museums, 170 zoos, 130 amusement parks, 100 hospitals, and 30 casinos (mainly in Las Vegas).

GPS BN: How are you creating and updating Indoor maps?

JL: The mapping and updating process is a lot more complex than with outdoor maps. It is based on a mixture of source information including architect diagrams, the latest commercial lease plans and ground truth information collected on-site. We are also not just talking about X (longitude) and Y (latitude), but Z (which is the different floors that might exist in a venue).

GPS BN: Who are your customers for these maps?

JL: Customers include Garmin (for ‘last mile’ car and pedestrian navigation), BING Maps, Qualcomm, ESRI, Amadeus (the travel company) and several other industry players. We’re also seeing growing interest from airlines, rail operators, universities and even hospitals.

Joseph Leigh was also recently a speaker at the Where Camp conference in Berlin. Watch below his full presentation:

Indoor Map & Location Tech Powering COP21 Climate Conference

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, Cardiweb, a mobile solution provider, Pole Star (indoor location tech), and Visioglobe, (indoor maps), are delivering the official mobile application of the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), held in Le Bourget (France) from 30 November to 11 December, 2015.

The mobile solution will improve the experience of the 40,000 daily visitors on the 200,000 sqm site of Le Bourget.

The App enables attendees to access the official agenda, bookmark favorites, follow Twitter feeds and look for practical information but it also provides the best possible routes to, from and within Le Bourget site, by any transportation mode and based on areas of interest (exhibitors, conferences, demos, etc.)

Furthermore, a second application, called Meet-Me, allows delegates to share their real time position with pre-selected contacts thus optimizing networking during the conference.

Italian Bus Company SASA Deploys 1,000 Bluetooth Beacons

The Italian transportation company SASA has implemented an information service for passengers that uses 1,000 beacons from Romanian vendor Onyx Beacon.

Based in Bolzano, South Tyrol, SASA administrates a fleet of 160 buses and provides more than 22 million individual travels per year.

The company announced this week the release of a dedicated mobile application, called SASAbusAPP and the full implementation of an infrastructure of Bluetooth Beacon devices, placed both in transportation vehicles and in bus stops.

The beacon implementation was initially driven by the need to serve visually impaired passengers.

"To assist our visually impaired passengers in solving their specific problem of commuting, was very important for us. The initiative and the idea for this project belong to The South Tyrolean Blind Union.", said Stefano Pagani, President of SASA.

Furthermore, the use of beacons has been extended so that it can serve not only the visually impaired passengers, but all types of customers. The beacons detect App users who are within a bus stop or in a bus, and transmit them automatically via the app useful information related directly to the respective moment and the particular location of the user.

The users can also rate their ride directly from the app.

For Onyx Beacon this contract with SASA follows a deployment in Bucharest bus and bus station, demonstrating the interest of beacons in the passenger transportation industry.

Pole Star Partners with Connexient to Offer Indoor Location In Healthcare

Connexient and Polestar USA announced today a partnership agreement to accelerate their technical and business collaboration.

This is the outcome of their joint solution in North America and Canada, with over 15 major medical centers now in deployment with Connexient’s MediNav solution, powered by Polestar Indoor Location technology.

In addition to Connexient’s deployments in the US and Canada, the two companies are working on the deployment of the solution in South America, Europe and the Middle East.

SenionLab: Indoor Loc Market Gets Mature: Less Tech, More Business

GPS Business News spoke this week with Christian Lundquist, CEO at SenionLab, a Swedish company providing indoor location technologies to worldwide customers.

Born in 2010 SenionLab had their first large scale customer success in 2012 when they signed up Singtel to provide their technology to 70 shopping mall in Singapore. Nowadays the company has done installations in more than 30 countries.

The company today has 15 people on staff and relies on value-added resellers globally. SenionLab is particularly targeting shopping malls and healthcare and its main market is in North America today.

Talking about the market SenionLab has seen during the last year a shift on the discussion topics with customers: this is less about technology and more about business. the technology is less a central question the big question is how this technology can improve and transform business processes.

In this interview Lundquist also stressed out the point that his business is not threaten by the indoor location technologies of the Silicon Valley Giants (Google & Apple) because its clients attache a lot of value to their data and their customer’s data.

Listen below to the full audio podcast interview with SenionLab CEO Christian Lundquist:

Health Monitoring Wristband Buddi Gets Tiny GPS Module from OriginGPS

Small footprint GPS module manufacturer OriginGPS today announced that Buddi, a provider of assistive technology, has integrated the Spider module into its emergency alarm wristband.

The alarm, which works outside the home and even abroad, alerts remote family members of an aging person’s falls, location, and overall well-being, enabling older people to remain independent for longer.

The most recent and smallest addition to OriginGPS’ Spider family, introduced in Q4 2014, is the Nano Spider, a miniature GPS receiver measuring only 4.1mm x 4.1 mm, which is ideal for wearables.

“Buddi chose OriginGPS due to the compact size of the modules along with their low power consumption,” said Charles Lewinton, Buddi’s head of engineering. “Integration of the modules into the Buddi hardware platform was straightforward. When needed, OriginGPS provided excellent technical support and advice.”

Yext Debuts Beacon Solution

Yext, the location management platform for businesses has announced Xone, a mobile engagement product that leverages Bluetooth beacons.

"A brand’s physical locations should be where they have the greatest home field advantage," stated Yext CEO Howard Lerman.

"And yet, in our mobile age, we see stores struggle to engage in-store consumers who don’t have their apps installed. Xone combines two powerful technologies–Bluetooth® beacons and our award-winning Location Management Platform–with our growing Xone App Network to create real-time, mobile moments through which businesses can serve their customers better."

Xone’s core feature, Xone Tips, enables businesses to serve mobile content screens to customers who are within range of an in-store Xone Beacon. Xone Tips are fully customizable and can be used by retailers, restaurants, hotels, financial institutions, and other brands with physical locations to provide useful content to customers including WiFi codes, new product information, sales promotions, and incentives to download a brand app or join a brand’s social media audiences.

Crownstone, the Smart Power Outlet That Uses Indoor Location

A Dutch startup called Dobots has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise €200,000 for Crownstone, a smart power outlet that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and a mobile app.

These power outlets do many things and interestingly several Crownstone can talk together and provide a small indoor geolocation infrastructure for your home. GPS Business News decided to learn more about it and interviewed with DoBots COO, Anne van Rossum.

GPS BN: Who is DoBots and what is Crownstone?

Anne van Rossum: DoBots is a spinoff of Almende, a research institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. DoBots specializes in artificial intelligence, for robots and home automation alike. "Do" in the name stands for actually doing things for people. We have a computer on every desk and in every pocket. We want computers to start actually doing things for us. Cleaning our floors, but also switching or lights and reducing our energy footprint.

The Crownstone is a smart power outlet. It is able to observe or behavior through how we use devices and allows our home to adapt to our needs. They can function as a very affordable 25 dollar wake-up light, and switch off energy-hungry devices like modems and tvs. However, their AI allows also to recognize situations. Your grandma who doesn’t come out of bed. Your electrical kettle without water. Your television that gets plugged out at night if your not around. Suspicious or dangerous situations that it recognizes because it is able to identify devices and learns your behavior.

GPS BN: You are using indoor location with Crownstone, what is the technology and what is the purpose?

AvR: Yes, indeed. Our background is in robotics so we are very familiar with a technique called SLAM, simultaneous localization and mapping. It allows a robot to position itself and build a map of so-called landmarks in its environment. In our case a human is the robot and it uses the Crownstones to pinpoint its location indoors. Moreover, because we use this state of the art method you do not need to tell the system where you have plugged in those Crownstones. By just walking around the location of your smart power outlets is inferred automatically. The system is learning all this on itself.

GPS BN: Thus far indoor location has been mostly used for public spaces, what potential do you see in the smart home?

AvR: Elderly need new tech like this the most. One of our applications puts Crownstones behind every light switch and device so we know where someone is without them needing to carry a smartphone, Fitbit, iBeacon, or anything with Bluetooth Low Energy. Hence, we know when not to call grandma. You don’t want her running out of the kitchen and trip!