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Indoor Navigation, The new gold rush? | BDNooZ November 9, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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[…] The New York Times published in October Stops and Starts of GPS Apps “… those portable devices [GARMIN, TOMTOM etc] are under attack from a new source: the smartphone, and particularly Apple’s iPhone. The newest version of the iPhone’s operating system supports turn-by-turn navigation … According to a report from the iSuppli research firm, GPS applications for smartphones are about to explode, growing from 2.5 percent of users today to 10.5 percent in 2013. And half of those will be iPhone owners…”Even Forbes Magazine refers to this trend in warfare terms Google’s Navigation Bombshell “…Location-based service providers suspect the search giant is working on a free navigation app… Google, which generally gives its software away for free and recoups its investment through advertising, would likely sell ads within the navigation application rather than charge users… In early October, Google decided to use this data for its U.S. maps, ending a licensing agreement with map provider Tele Atlas…The shift is telling because companies like Tele Atlas require partners such as Google to pay fees for each person who uses their data…” […]

Avoiding the competitor’s strengths and striking at their weaknesses

All (accurate) navigation systems are based on GPS data. If the weakness of GPS receivers is that they need a clear view to the sky to successfully determine location, the strategy is to attack the indoor world. Additionally, the GPS accuracy lies between 50 to 500 feet, the strategy then is to find customers that need higher accuracy (~10 feet). The third, but not the last weakness, is the need for maps. As we saw before, Google has generated large amount of map data, and in general the market is dominated by TeleAtlas and Navteq. The strategy is to navigate to “uncharted territories”.

Redefining the Battleground – Embracing indoor navigation.

A few weeks ago I was approached by an inventor with a (published) patent. The general idea calls for an indoor navigation system that uses no GPS data. His idea is very good and to my judgment relatively easy to implement.

The system automatically detects a signal directly from sensors, without requiring the communication with a central system, data plans, or even cellular communication. These sensors are small pocketsize Bluetooth transceivers. There is no need for pairing as every Bluetooth device’s tag has a unique ID. This ID can be used for locating the tag.

Indoor navigation – A winning strategy that redefines the navigation ecosystem?

There is infinite number of indoor navigation applications. The most intuitive one is a person walking into a mall that wishes to locate a specific store, or a particular aisle in a department store or even a specific item on a shelf! From here, you can apply the same principle to a customer looking for a specific conference room, a particular booth in a tradeshow, a ride in an amusement park, or a known piece of art in a museum. If not for the convenience, do it to save a tree. No more printed maps. Go Green!!!

The advantage of using Bluetooth is that this technology is ubiquitous, it’s implemented everywhere. Additionally, is a low cost, low power technology, and when it’s relatively free of obstruction it can provide a ~2 meter error range. Furthermore, a Bluetooth infrastructure can be used for purposes like remote monitoring and control among others.

The ecosystem is completely redefined. An architect with CAD drawings is now a map provider. Every single facility is now a navigable site. Every big retailer willing to drive customers to specific products is a potential customer (they can “route” them through the sales isles if they want).  Every shopping property management firm is a customer, as well as convention centers organizations or associations like the Global Retail Executive Council.

We have an ecosystem where the traditional navigation giants are not necessarily present, and there is no defined leader (yet-11/09).

The business opportunity – define a new market

Indoor Navigation redefines Location Based Services as we know them today. The first companies to enter this market will be able to define, create, implement and license ($) new standards and applications. Imagine this: I installed an indoor navigation application in my phone/PDA and subsequently downloaded the map of the mall I usually go to. Next week I’ll visit San Francisco, and upon arrival I would like to visit a local shopping center, or use it at the convention I’ll attend. My application will be useful ONLY if the map of that SF mall or convention center is compatible with the one installed in my phone. For sure I’ll NOT install an additional application per site I visit. This is just the tip of the iceberg. […]

via Indoor Navigation, The new gold rush? | BDNooZ.


OpenStreetMap: the free map data revolution? July 13, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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A very extensive 3 page article on OSM, comparison with commercial competitors and also challenges for success:

[…] Created in 2004 with the idea to build a free, worldwide digital map, OSM is now over 130,000 participants (they were 100,000 in March) with an accelerating growth.

As a result, the map database produced by the community is growing at a fast pace. In May there was over 33 million kilometers of roads in the database. European capitals such as Berlin, Amsterdam, London and many others have been mapped to a level of details that is in many place far superior to Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ. As an example, a few months ago some German volunteers mapped the Berlin Zoo to a unique level of details, quickly followed by the Amsterdam Zoo from Dutch volunteers stimulated by the German example. […]

via OpenStreetMap: the free map data revolution?.

Open Javascript framework provides virtual geolocation for mobile developers – GPS Obsessed July 12, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets, Programming.
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This post is for all of the geospatial developers out there. Stan Wiechers of mobile analytics service PercentMobile has put together an open javascript framework that enables engineers to simulate a potential users location and movement without requiring a real-world presence. The underlying code provides a base hidden by a simple interface and the entire deal is incredibly simple. I’m far from being a savvy coder but even I can make sense of this framework.

Wiechers has put the source code on Google Code with several examples and a description of the project.

via GPS Obsessed » Blog Archive » Open Javascript framework provides virtual geolocation for mobile developers – GPS, Location-Based Apps, And Everything Else Navigational.

Find a faster commute with mobile application Waze May 20, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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[Anthony Ha] I’ve become pathetically reliant on my iPhone for finding my way around, but there’s one thing that online mapping applications don’t prepare me for — traffic. Even when applications include traffic data, the information isn’t provided in real-time, or it isn’t accounted for when calculating driving directions, or both. Enter a new service called Waze, which is beginning a private alpha test in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Waze takes data provided by the applications’ users on how quickly traffic is moving at that moment to calculate the optimum driving route. That means the data is both more up-to-date and cheaper to collect than what’s traditionally offered by data sources like Navteq. For example, a driver who lives in San Francisco but works in Mountain View can log in every morning to see if they should take the 101 (a more direct freeway, but with worse traffic), or whether traffic is bad enough that they should choose the 280. Then as they drive, they can keep the application on, and it uses GPS to monitor their speed to help the next driver. Users can also send in reports about things like accidents and constructions. […]

via Find a faster commute with mobile application Waze » VentureBeat

TeleNav launches GPS navigation for the G1 February 13, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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They finally, really did it. Have you been lugging around that G1 and a GPS unit, grunting disdainfully every time you have to bust the latter out? Well it looks like TeleNav has heard your cries of disgust. The company is officially launching its turn-by-turn GPS navigation for the Android-powered device come February 24th. The software will feature full color 3D graphics, speech recognition, one-click rerouting, and traffic alerts, as well as weather updates, gas prices, and restaurant reviews (the PR claims over 10 million business and services). The service will launch with a 30-day free trial, after which it’ll run you $9.99 a month. While we can’t say we’re too stoked on the price, it’s still not too terrible of a fee to pay to actually put that GPS chip to use (and save some room in your glove compartment). Convergence: we’re almost there.

TeleNav launches GPS navigation for the G1 – Engadget

Google enters the location-based networking fray with Latitude February 4, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets, Multimedia.
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Google has just launched a new aspect of its Google Maps product called Latitude. It’s a social layer that goes over Google Maps to show your location information in real time. If you think Google is already creepy with the amount of data they have about you, you’re going to hate this. […]

Google enters the location-based networking fray with Latitude » VentureBeat