All You Need to Know about Indoor Location in Apple iOS8

At the recent Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, Apple introduced its indoor location technology without a big splash.

Apple will use RF parametric data as well as motion sensors data from its M7 chipset to enable indoor location.

Mobile developers will use the existing corelocation API to enable indoor location. The only difference is that the API will offer a floor number in addition to the X,Y location data.

WIFISLAM Acquisition

This indoor location technology was developed by WIFISLAM (read here), a company acquired by Apple in March 2013. It uses signal strength patterns of WiFi access points. These patterns can be crowdsourced by mobile devices and are augmented by data taken from compass and accelerometer.

The technology requires an initial fingerprinting of a building even if this fingerprinting can be done only by walking through the building with a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone.

Indoor location only works When wi-Fi is on and the iphone is in use. In order to limit the power consumption there is no possibility of background location with indoor precision. However iBeacon could be used to trigger an alert at a special location.

iBeacon

During the 30 minutes presentation of the new technology at the conference, the Apple representative indeed emphasize the use of iBeacon in coordination with indoor location.

Venue owners who want to promote the use of their app should include iBeacons at the entrance of their venue to wake up the app. They could also include iBeacons at special places. For example an exhibition could include beacons in places were particular masterworks might need additional data available in the app. For this kind of purpose the range of the beacon alert triggering can be set to only a couple of meters/feet.

Precision and Maps

Nowhere during this presentation Apple gave indication about the precision of its indoor location technology. Developers will figure it out as they try the new API.

Furthermore, indoor location is interesting but it requires indoor maps to make sense.

For developers Apple has already enabled three locations with maps in and around San Francisco to test its API in a live environment: the California Academy of Sciences and the Westfield SF Center shopping mall downtown San Francisco as well as Mineta San Jose International Airport down in the Silicon Valley.

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iOS 8 Gets Location Sharing in Message App

Unveiled this week at the WWDC by Apple executives, iOS 8 has numerous new bells and whistles and amongst that location sharing that comes as a feature within a new Message app.

The software allows users to either send their current location to their contact or share this location for a longer length of time: one hour, until the end of day or indefinitely. This works both for a unique person you are messaging with or a group of people, in case of a group message thread.

The Message app is clearly an answer to Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services such as Whatsapp, Viber and others which are enjoying a worldwide success (see chart below). These messaging solutions have massively integrated a “send location“ feature, some of them (Samsung ChatON and BBM) in partnering with location-sharing start-up Glympse.

However, because Message is per essence not cross platform it will be limited in reach compared to solutions such as WhatsApp and others that cover Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and more.

This new location sharing feature also highlights the little success Apple got with the “Find My friends“ app that was launched in October 2011. Find My friends is currently ranking 684th in iTunes iPhone market and 492th in iTunes iPad market.

Google Reportedly in Talks to Acquire Skybox Imaging

According to Techcrunch, Google is reportedly in talks with Skybox Imaging to acquire their satellite imagery business for $1 billion.

Skybox Imaging was born in 2009 with the idea of revolutionizing the commercial satellite imagery market in launching a constellation of small satellites rather than large payloads.

In 2009 the company secured a Series A financing of $3 million from Khosla Ventures then In 2011 they completed a Series B round of $18M from Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. the start-up finally raised a series C financing of $70 million in 2012 from Canaan Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and existing investors.

Their first satellite SkySat-1, the first of a 24 satellite constellation planned by Skybox Imaging, started to provide imagery in December 2013.

Images, videos and analytics

SkySat-1 captures up to 90-second video clips at 30 frames per second. The resolution is high enough to view objects like shipping containers or cars. SkySat-1 also captures some of the highest quality color imagery of any commercial satellite and is capable of sub-meter native color and near-infrared imagery.

Skybox Imaging does not only supply images, but also analytics – based on their own tools or their customer’s tools – for example to monitor the number of ships in a port or the number of cars on a parking lots.

Thus far Google is buying his imagery data from commercial satellite providers (such as Digital Globe), but an acquisition could make sense. Google could for example add video to its still images in Google Maps and Google Earth.

The analytics software developed by Skybox could also be interesting to Google to improve its products and offer business to business solutions in addition to existing geospatial products.

See below video examples from Skybox Imaging, these videos were taken by SkySat-1, the first of Skybox’s planned constellation of 24 satellites.

Case Study: Mazda Advertising on Waze in the UK

To drive interest and engagement in Mazda’s two latest models, the Mazda 6 and CX-5, the British media buying agency of the car brand, Mindshare UK, in cooperation with mobile ad agency Mapp Media selected mobile app Waze as a medium for an advertising campaign.

Owned by Google, Waze is a community-based navigation app that offers turn-by-turn directions, traffic information and speed camera warnings.

The agency targeted user’s of Waze based on the proximity of a Mazda dealership along their route. Branded pins notified the driver about the dealerships and he had the option to click on the pin for more information – including click to navigate to dealership, click to call dealership or click for more information on the model.

In addition to the branded pins, rich media adverts (“zero speed pop up“) were served to users when stationary for over 10 seconds, for example when waiting at a red light.

The outcome of the campaign was that more than 1,000 Waze users changed their route and navigated to a Mazda dealership. Over 5 times this amount clicked on the branded pins and rich media advertisements to find out more about the car models or to call their local dealership.

The campaign was run for one month in November 2013.

Locaid Adds U.S. Cellular to Network-Based Location Aggregation Platform

Network-based location aggregator Locaid, has announced that U.S. Cellular customers who give consent are now locatable on Locaid’s enterprise location platform.

Locaid’s enterprise customers can now access to U.S. Cellular’s 4.9 million customers, including no-contract customers.

Locaid is the largest location gateway with partnerships with the major carriers in the Americas including AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Rogers, Sprint, TELUS, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon, representing 400 million mobile devices.

Carrefour Debuts 130,000 sq ft Flagship Store with Indoor Geolocation

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer has equipped its new flagship store, in Villeneuve La Garenne, in the North West suburb of Paris, France with precise indoor geolocation to help shoppers find the products they are looking for.

This new retail space of 12,000 sq meters (130,000 sq feet) has been fully equipped by Insiteo with Bluetooth low energy beacons; about 200 of them provide indoor geolocation with 2 meter accuracy, a precision needed in a retail space where shoppers shall be located in the right aisle.

For older Android phones with no support for Bluetooth low energy, the supermarket is fitted with free Wi-Fi so Insiteo has leveraged the infrastructure to offer a fallback location system based on Wi-Fi.

The mobile application that offers the geolocation feature is called “C-où“ (where is it?) and runs on iOS and Android.

The app, built in collaboration with electronics shelf label supplier Pricer, allows shoppers to scan barcodes at home or search for recipe ideas to build their grocery list. Once in the supermarket the app automatically peaks up the signal from the Bluetooth beacons and display a map with the precise location of the user. The user can be navigated to any product on his shopping list and get a personalized shopping route based on what is in its electronic basket in the app.

The Bluetooth beacons run on their own battery that has a 5 years duration.

In the coming weeks the beacon located at the entrance of the supermarket will be iBeacon-enabled so they will be able to wake up the iPhone app upon the entrance of the customer.

The app will also soon offer geo-push of coupons and other type of promotions based on the location and profile of the user.

The shopping mall where the supermarket is located has also selected Insiteo to offer indoor geolocation to its visitors.

Watch below our video demonstration with Insiteo CEO Arnaud Masson:

Seat Pagine Gialle, Eniro Select NDrive for GPS Navigation App

In the era of free GPS navigation software on smartphones, the old paid-for business model has disappeared and software suppliers have seized new opportunities in the last couple of years.

This has been the case for Portugal-based NDrive which has focussed a significant part of its business development towards the Yellow Pages industry.

In December 2011 the company started to work with Mappy (SoLocal group) in France (read here) and this year two new contracts have come to implementation with Eniro (Sweden and Norway) and Seat Pagine Gialle (Italy).

In February the leading Italian directory provider Seat Pagine Gialle started TuttoCittà NAV Gratis, a free, turn-by-turn GPS navigation software powered by NDrive. These mobile applications are obviously centered around the use of local search and monetized by premium listings in local search results.

Last week Eniro launched Gule Sider Navigasjon in Norway and Eniro Navigation in Sweden, both powered by NDrive for iOS and Android operating systems.

The local map data is hosted on the device and additional services (European maps, real-time traffic information) are available through in app purchase.

vente-privée.com Debuts iBeacon-like Technology

Large French e-tailer venteprivee.com (more than 2.5 million unique daily visitors) has unveiled a few days ago “Le Pass+“ an iBeacon-like technology that offers retailers an opportunity to send information in-store to customers on their smartphones.

The company said it has already “convinced“ 1,500 retail locations to use the system. Shopping malls owned by the Henderson group, French retailer Digital and brands such as Agatha and Izac are among the B2B customers.

venteprivee.com is however not very transparent on whether or not the technology has already started to be deployed.

Mobile-to-store Initiative

This proximity sensor system does not come out of the blue because vente-privee already had initiated a mobile-to-store initiative last October with the launch of a mobile app called Le Pass which offers geolocated deals in 860,000 restaurants, retail stores, hotels, etc.

Le Pass was born from a start-up company called Pass VIP which has vente-privee.com as a majority shareholder since last year. The app is slowly making its way in the app stores (although less than 50,000 apps downloaded on Google Play thus far).

Le Pass+ works in conjunction with Le Pass iOS and Android apps on smartphone embedding a Bluetooth 4.0 chipset.

Three types of beacons can be installed in-store or in shopping mall. One is located at the entrance and sends notifications to nearby opt-in customers with special offers corresponding to their preferences set in the app.

Other beacons can be located in specific aisles in-store to notify the customer of special deals or information pertaining to products where the shopper is located.

Finally one beacon is located at the point of sale of the store where the app pops up the loyalty card corresponding to the shop.

"Today, we come to a second phase in the history of e-commerce, where the little “e“  will disappear to make way for commerce. There is no more opposition between brick-and-mortar stores and online stores,“ explained Jacques-Antoine Granjon, founder and CEO of vente-privee.com.

TAPTAP Networks Launch Self-Serve Performance-Based Local Ad Platform for Retail

Spanish mobile Ad network TAPTAP Networks has unveiled today Sonata Retail, a self-service location-based mobile advertising platform dedicated to the retail industry.

Sonata Retail offers advertisers an easy way to design mobile ads, buy geo-targeted inventory on RTB platforms and get reporting. The pricing is based on the activity of the mobile prospect and the price that the advertiser is prepared to pay for certain actions. An ad shown has a cost of €0.01, then the advertiser selects a value for optional pay-for-performance event such as access to map, access to web, registration, call, coupon redeemed.

The advertiser can indeed offer coupons that can be redeemed through a mobile app (iOS and Android).

Although the platform sounds a bit expensive compared to the current market prices (€10 CPM when mobile CPM are mostly trading below $1) it however offers a one stop mobile ad buying experience that does not even require the creation of a mobile website.

TAPTAP Networks based in Madrid is one of the leaders in the Spanish mobile advertising market. Its clients include McDonalds, Orange, KFC, Vodafone, H&M, El Corte Ingles, among others, with the support of Havas Media, Omnicom Media Group, Group M,

Vivaki and Carat.

Q&A with Locomizer: Biology-Inspired Technology for Location Analytics

At the AdTech conference last week in London GPS Business News met with Locomizer, a UK start-up that uses location analytics to build mobile profiles. We interviewed with Alexei Polyakov, co-founder of the company.

GPS Business News: Can you briefly present us Locomizer?

Alexei Polyakov: We are a UK-based enterprise location analytics company. We have created an Audience Discovery Engine that is powered by Biology-inspired algorithm to build highly targetable user interest profiles.

In addition we are also building a global Geo-Behavioral Interest Graph by anonymising and aggregating the user interest profiles to provide extrapolated trends about footfall by interest groups and time.

We have recently been profiled by Mashable as one of the top 25 startups in the UK.



GPS BN:
What is the key problem you are willing to solve?

AP: Companies need to understand customer data in order to monetize it. However, most of the companies do not have resources or a clue of how to take advantage of ever-growing customer data.

As the result their offers/recommendations/ads fail to reach the right audience. It happens because they fail to make their messages relevant and personal. Poor audience targeting is a real problem for a lot of companies. Locomizer solves that problem by helping companies in understanding of their customers through the creation of targetable user interest profiles based on their mobility patterns.

For example, an advertiser looking to target a specific set of customers that match a certain interest group will be able to target the right types of users, by time and location. Retailers can use our insights to understand footfall across their stores, customise shelf inventory, tailor product promotions in existing stores, determine the best locations and formats for new stores. We understand maps with people in them.

GPS BN: What is unique in your technology?

AP: Locomizer offers a unique, Nature-inspired solution to uncover the right audience for the right promotional offer. Our product, the world’s first Audience Discovery Engine, powered by Biology-inspired proprietary algorithm takes all kinds of location data, including GPS coordinates from mobile telecoms carriers, location-enabled tweets, geo-tagged Facebook content and Foursquare check-ins for analysis. The result of this analysis is the precisely targetable user interest profiles.

GPS BN: How do you sell your technology, what is the business model?

AP: We are B2B and use direct sales approach. We have two main revenue sources in mind. The first one is a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) subscription model for a customer dashboard for a business to upload and translate their location data into individual user interest profiles. The second one is an API calls-based revenue model of charging business customers for the access to Locomizer’s Geo-Behavioral Interest Graph, an aggregated view of footfall traffic by time and interests.

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