WiseSec: Indoor Location & Triggering Demonstration at MWC

Founded in 2011, WiseSec is an Israeli start-up that specializes in indoor location and location triggering for the retail and security markets. WiseSec uses modified Bluetooth beacons deployed at the target location. Most recently WiseSec signed up a Moscow shopping mall as their first retail customer.

Called WiseBy, the WiseSec solution provides retailers with a comprehensive solution including personalized check-in, precise shelf-level coupons, indoor navigation, self-help, NFC-like experience without NFC, personalized check-out, and an in-store traffic pattern analysis.

GPS Business News met with WiseSec’s vice president of business development Asaf Toledano at the Mobile World Congress. He demonstrated his solution on their booth.

Watch the video below:

MediaTek’s BeiDou-Enabled GNSS Receiver in Mass Production

The Chinese GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) BeiDou has opened to public use in December and Taïwanese silicon vendor MediaTek is now supporting the satellite constellation in its chipsets.

According to MediaTek, the MT3332/MT3333 SoC multi-GNSS receivers (GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO/BEIDOU/QZSS) “are currently in mass production stage and already being designed into major satellite navigation systems and mobile communication platforms worldwide.“

The Beidou system has been commercially operational since the end of 2012, and is currently a constellation of 16 satellites providing positioning, navigation and timing services to the Asia-Pacific region. It can identify a user’s location to 10m (33ft), their velocity to within 0.2 meters per second, and clock synchronization signals (one-way) to within 10 nanoseconds.

Spirent Adds Support for BeiDou GNSS Constellation Testing

Spirent Communications, a leading vendor in positioning test solutions, has announced the availability of test systems with support for BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the Chinese GNSS constellation that was open to the public in December 2012 with the release of an Interface Control Document (ICD) for the Open Service (read here).

“Spirent has successfully demonstrated BeiDou-2 in simulation systems at its offices in Beijing, China,” said Stuart Smith, product manager for Spirent’s positioning and navigation group. “Prior to the ICD release we used recorded navigation data to enable our systems to drive a full BeiDou receiver and qualify the implementation. With the release of ICD information, navigation data is generated automatically, as with the other constellations that the system simulates.”

Spirent’s BeiDou-2 system includes testing for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) – GPS, GLONASS and Galileo, as well as IRNSS, QZSS and SBAS along with options such as interference generation and MEMS sensor simulation.

CSR Intros SiRFatlasVI Automotive Infotainment SoC

British chipset maker CSR has introduced last week SiRFatlasVI, the lastest version of their automotive infotainment system-on-chip.

According to the chip maker, “The SiRFatlasVI SoC offers 3x CPU, 3x graphics and 6x multimedia performance improvements over the previous SiRFatlasV chip at virtually the same BOM cost.“

The SiRFatlasVI SoC integrates a high-sensitivity multi-satellite GNSS engine that supports the four major global navigation systems: GPS and GLONASS today; Galileo and Compass (with a simple software upgrade) tomorrow.

The integrated ARM Cortex-A9 application processor produces up to 2500 DMIPS, which enables advanced applications and multiple operating systems. It is supported by an ARM NEON multimedia accelerator that enables up to 720p decode. Customers can choose to utilise either the new POWERVR 3D graphics accelerator core or rely on the 2D core as a low-cost option.

The SiRFatlasVI SoC supports Windows CE 6.0, Android 4.0 and Linux operating systems, and is sampling to lead customers now.

New Spirent System Test Algorithms combining GNSS & inertial MEMS

Spirent Communications last week announced the launch of a new simulation software that combines inertial MEMS sensor with multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, etc.) testing.

Spirent already hinted in that direction when meeting with GPS Business News at the Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona (read here).

“SimSENSOR works in tandem with Spirent’s multi-GNSS constellation simulators by simulating MEMS sensor outputs on a common trajectory with the simulated GNSS signals,“ explained Spirent.

SimSENSOR includes trajectories that embed representative human motion gestures, such as arm movements. In addiiton MEMS noise models and errors such as bias and drift are also available under user control.

The software can test fusion algorithms that take inputs from a large variety of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscope, magnetometer, digital compass and barometric height sensors.

“Sensor fusion is increasingly being used to enable a wide range of applications including indoor positioning. SimSENSOR is a unique tool for accelerated, lab-based R&D in support of this ground-breaking work,“ said Rahul Gupta, product manager with Spirent’s Positioning Technology business.

“It will also help to extend Spirent’s leadership in testing hybrid positioning technologies in mobile devices,” he added.

This technology is based on previous work done by Spirent in this area. Five years ago Spirent had launched SimINERTIAL to test inertial navigation systems involving high grade GPS/inertial units suitable for military applications.

Pole Star Indoor Positioning Soon in iPhones

Indoor positioning start-up Pole Star has announced they are field testing their Wi-Fi indoor positioning technology on the iOS 5 operating system.

Thus far the NAO Campus technology, currently deployed in three million square meters of airports, malls and other large scale buildings, had been only available to the Android platform.

Historically the iPhone operating system had offered less opportunities to get sensors data directly to the app developer. It seems Pole Star has now managed to get over this problem.

“Bringing our service to iPhones is another huge advance that will make NAO Campus® potentially available to 75% of smartphone users," said Christian Carle, Pole Star CEO.

The iPhone software stack is currently field-tested in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

"NAO Campus indoor location technology has truly proven itself on Android, guiding our passengers in real time. We have decided to invest in this phase of testing to speed the release of our My Way Aéroports de Paris application on iPhones," said Olivier Tarneaud, Aéroports de Paris Marketing Director.

STMicro 3-Axis Gyroscope Gets Automotive Certification

Leading MEMS vendor STMicroelectronics has introduced a new 3-axis digital gyroscope that meets the stringent requirements of AEC-Q100, an industry-standard qualification for automotive integrated circuits.

Established by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC), AEC Q100 details a set of stress tests and defines the qualification requirements for integrated circuits in automotive applications.

ST’s A3G4250D gyroscope measures angular rates up to ±250dps (degree per second). An on-chip IC interface converts the angular-motion data into a 16-bit digital bit stream that is transmitted with high reliability to a dedicated microcontroller chip through a standard SPI or I(2)C protocol. The device provides two output lines (interrupt and data ready) and four user-selectable output data rates.

The 3V single-supply sensor integrates power-down and sleep modes and an embedded FIFO (first-in first-out) memory block for smarter power management. The A3G4250D embeds an 8-bit temperature sensor and operates within an extended temperature range from -40 to 85 degrees C. The device is robust to electromagnetic interference and withstands shocks up to 10,000g.

Samples of ST’s A3G4250D are available and volume production will start by the second quarter of 2012. Unit pricing is $6 for volumes in the range of 1,000 pieces, said STMicro.

Google Adds Indoor Maps & Location to GG Maps for Android

Google yesterday announced the addition of indoor maps to Google Maps for Android, coming up with a solution that not only offers maps but also an indoor positioning engine to improve accuracy and provides information about the floor level.

Precisions about these indoor maps have been given by Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering, Google Earth and Maps in a blog post.

“Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you’re viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. The familiar “blue dot” icon indicates your location within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you’re on. All this is achieved by using an approach similar to that of ‘My Location’ for outdoor spaces, but fine tuned for indoors.“

The Mountain View company has initially partnered with a limited number of large retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan and will rely on crowdsourcing images of indoor maps to accelerate its coverage. Submitting an indoor map is relatively simple, it just take a few minutes online if you already have each floor plan in a picture format: .gif, .tif, .jpeg, .png, .bmp.

After that, Google is processing the submitted image. The company does not ujst saying that it may takes some time for the map to appear in GG Maps for Android. Obviously these indoor maps are unlikely to be automatically processed but rather rely on people to check accuracy and determine the precise elevation of each floor.

Like any other new Google Maps feature, this one is likely to accelerate the consolidation of the market for indoor positioning and indoor mapping. Some companies might get out of business in the next 18 months and some other find a buyer quicker than expected.

Watch below a video on how to submit a floor plan:

STMicro Ships new MEMS Compass

Semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics announced today a new generation of geo-magnetic MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems).

ST’s newest geo-magnetic module (LSM303DLM) is said to address energy efficiency on both the chip and the system level and its operating power consumption of 360micro-A represents a 50% reduction over devices currently in production.

According to STMicro, “the device boasts a 30% increase in magnetic sensing resolution over its predecessor, the LSM303DLH.“

The module is pin-to-pin and software-compatible with the previous-generation device, so customers can easily ‘hot swap’ and protect their investment in application development.

The new module is available immediately, with unit pricing at $1.95 for volumes in the range of 100,000 pieces.