Indoor Positioning Solutions for Asset Tracking, Navigation & Analytics

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An indoor positioning system tracks the location of connected devices in environments where GPS signals can’t reach. Learn about the foundations and benefits of indoor location tracking and explore considerations for building cost-effective indoor positioning systems at scale.

Commercial Application of Indoor Positioning

Businesses can leverage indoor positioning to improve customer experiences, increase oversight of employee or visitor activities, and optimize operations or automation efforts. 

Enterprise Asset Tracking

IoT asset tracking is one area of high demand, especially in the healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics sectors. Real-time industrial indoor positioning grants these organizations greater control and visibility into the movement of inventory, assets, or personnel. Smart asset tracking can prevent loss, promote safety, enhance automated workflows, and ensure that operational standards are met.

Indoor Navigation

The indoor location-based services market is projected to reach US $19.3 Bn in annual revenue by 2030, due to its potential for venue-based navigation, marketing, and services. ¹

Large venues such as hospitals, university campuses, and airports can use an indoor positioning system to assist visitors with wayfinding or create tailored app experiences with turn-by-turn instructions and other location-based services. Indoor positioning can also support health and safety efforts like contact tracing and real-time social distancing enforcement. 

Location Data & Analytics

Tracked devices create valuable location insights for business and operational decisions. For example, industrial asset tracking can reveal patterns or bottlenecks in throughput, and navigation apps used by visitors can provide attendance or engagement metrics for events and venues. 

B2C Indoor Location Applications 

Many companies leverage location to drive value in products with distinctive tracking features, such as pet trackers, wearables, mobile personal emergency response systems, and anti-theft devices on luggage, cars, or other high-value items. Skyhook partners are contributing innovative work in IoT, wearables, mobile apps, and more.

 

Wi-Fi Location Tracking vs. Other Indoor Techniques

Different types of indoor positioning systems have various capabilities and requirements. Wi-Fi location tracking is the best-fit technology for many commercial and industrial use cases due to its flexibility, accuracy, and scalability. However, relying strictly on Wi-Fi has limitations, and enterprise IoT deployments could be better served by a hybrid positioning system that utilizes multiple types of location.

Benefits of Wireless Positioning

Wireless positioning technology calculates a device’s location based on its proximity to Wi-Fi access points. This option can leverage pre-existing Wi-Fi networks to enable indoor and outdoor positioning globally – wherever an access point exists. Other advantages of Wi-Fi positioning include:

  • Pre-existing Wi-Fi networks can easily be augmented to provide even higher levels of positioning accuracy.
  • Systems are cost-effective and scalable.
  • Wi-Fi connections are low power, which preserves device battery life.
  • Accuracy improves with advancements to underlying infrastructure and technology.
  • It can be combined with other positioning technologies for flexible deployment, accuracy, and power profiles.

When devices move outside the coverage area of Wi-Fi signals, other positioning methods like cellular and GPS become useful to achieve truly global positioning. Cellular positioning uses a device’s proximity to cell towers and the signal’s angle of arrival to determine location, while GPS uses satellites. Both of these positioning methods have their advantages in areas such as dense urban areas and outdoor areas with a clear line of sight to the sky, but Wi-Fi is the preferred location method for indoor use cases, where methods such as GPS are traditionally limited.

While it may seem out of reach to combine multiple location methods into one positioning system, hybrid positioning software such as Skyhook’s Precision Location offers a valuable shortcut to accurate, global device positioning, both indoors and outdoors. Check out the Precision Location page or keep reading for additional indoor positioning considerations and Skyhook’s approach to them.

Learn More About Hybrid Positioning

Other Indoor Positioning System Considerations

Cost effectiveness is key to deriving the most value from commercial and industrial positioning systems. The overall cost of a location project is a function of factors such as hardware and bandwidth requirements, the level of precision and real-time visibility required by the use case, and ease of installation. 

Device and Network Bandwidth Requirements

In general, highly precise real-time tracking use cases have greater processing, battery, and bandwidth requirements. Yet it’s possible to minimize BOM impact and maximize scalability by choosing the right integration option, even with rigorous location tracking needs. 

Positioning capabilities can be integrated into devices in several ways, including the hardware, operating system, and application levels. Software-based positioning can advantageous due to its ease of integration and compatibility with a wide range of devices. 

Level of Precision Required

Indoor navigation systems must be precise enough to provide real-time turn-by-turn directions, while an application such as industrial asset tracking may just need to provide the approximate location of a device within a facility. The latter use case requires less precision and less frequent location resolutions, so it may not justify the expense and hardware requirements of the most accurate indoor positioning systems. 

Software-based positioning can also be configured to provide the level of positioning required for the specific application, and nothing more, so as to conserve battery and bandwidth resources.

Learn More About Battery & Bandwidth 

Skyhook Precision Location Hybrid Positioning Software

Now that we’ve addressed types of positioning technology that can underpin enterprise-scale indoor positioning systems, as well as the factors that can impact the indoor positioning investment, the next step is to identify robust solutions that meet the needs of specific use cases without additional expense. 

Skyhook’s Precision Location software intelligently uses algorithms for GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals to provide the most accurate, precise positioning available. Multiple integration options and dedicated service makes it easy to achieve seamless integration with existing hardware, long battery life, hybrid positioning on real-time operating systems, and much more.

Millions of devices from leading global brands are already utilizing Skyhook Precision Location to provide positioning solutions for IoT, devices and apps, mobile phones, as well as chips, modules, and operating systems due to its many advantages:

  • Multiple integration options: Use custom SDKs, embedded solutions, or APIs to add positioning capabilities on any kind of connected device. 

  • Flexible pricing: Pay only for the software features you need, with a pricing structure suited to your use case. 

  • Prolonged battery life: Precision Location software can be configured to support location-based features while maximizing battery life, even on low-resource devices. 

  • LPWAN compatibility: Use time difference of arrival to locate devices with minimal bandwidth requirements.

  • Hybrid positioning: Combines Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS signals for global positioning accuracy, indoors and outdoors, with offline location capabilities to resolve position locally.

As the leading independent location provider, Skyhook’s tailored solutions are often more flexible, easier to implement, and more affordable than similar technologies. Learn more in our Location Technology Comparison Guide, in which Precision Location features are weighed against those of competing solutions. 


Contact us to learn how to build an indoor positioning system leveraging Precision Location. As location pioneers, we understand the complexity of your business and technical decisions. Ask us your indoor positioning questions, and we’ll guide you toward the right solution to drive the highest value.


Additional Resources for Indoor Positioning

Talk to a Positioning Expert

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