It has always been said that what goes on from the inside out, nobody knows. Not anymore. The time has come to know everything, even when the door is closed and one gets comfortable.
I walk on the third floor of a mall, I look for my favorite store. New spring-summer season, the saleswoman shows me the best of her smiles. I’m an easy target. I go into the fitting room and listen to my cell phone. Will it be work? Any partner in trouble? A pang of remorse twinge me and I decide to look who it is. But … ohhh! what a surprise! Is a message from the mall itself that makes me a fabulous discount if I take three pieces of the own brand that I was trying on me, but … how is it possible?
Of course it is possible. A fine and orchestrated combination of business intelligence (a very cool MBA word that is nothing more than trying to be ginger up and sell to the top) with interior positioning technologies (simplifying a lot, a GPS that works inside a building) makes it if I want the mall to know exactly where I am, in what floor and in what store, what kind of products I usually buy, what is the average that I spend on each visit and how much I have spent so far this year. Buah … anyone who has two fingers and have those data of their customers can do wonders, like what they just did with me, that I’m in line to pay with my three clothes hanging on the arm and happy as a partridge.
Refrain conspiracy chase paranoids. They’ll know about you if you want to get in the game. And I decide to play.
Here, I leave some technical details for whoever is interested.
What is Indoor Mapping?
It is difficult to find an exact definition of indoor mapping, since it is a concept that, as we said before, is currently experiencing a revolution. Broadly speaking, Indoor Mapping, also known as Indoor Positioning, is born as a response to the boom in the need for localization services that have been created in recent years. IoT, business Intelligence, Geomarketing and the advancement of technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), have been their precursors.
Indoor Mapping –Indoor Positioning-, can be defined as its name indicates, as a mechanism that allows us to position objects and people in closed environments. In other words, it allows sensors – or mobile devices – to be tracked in an internal environment.Thanks to the geolocation and the placement of sensors in certain hot spots from which we want to collect information, we can obtain data in real time of what is happening in our establishment.
The indoor mapping allows us to collect real data of what is happening in our establishment.
The elaboration of indoor maps and the location of people or items in closed environments is nothing new, it has been done for a while. In fact, Google, through Google IndoorMaps is promoting such indoor mapping, to improve the experience of its users. However, Indoor Mapping solutions go further, they have endless possibilities in the marketing and business intelligence field. It provides companies and institutions with a tool for obtaining data on consumption and inflow in real time.
How does it work?
Indoor Mapping can be based on the combination of many different technologies, GPS, ultrasound, WIFI, Bluethooth, however, all of them separately had limitations in terms of duration, distance or simply they do not provide enough accurate information, that is why it has opted for the use of low energy technologies such as the BLE– Bluetooth Low Energy-. It can also be based on beacons or take advantage of mobile devices.
Given the lack of precision of previous technologies in indoor environments, the applications of indoor mapping have focused on the combination of them with sensitive technologies – vision, footprints, heat points etc -.
Nevertheless, in order to obtain satisfactory results it is necessary in many cases the combination of several of them. Among the different techniques, we consider that the two best results give us are triangulation and footprints.
It allows to obtain quite precise results. Three reference points is established with preset coordinates based mainly on what is known as RSS- the strength of the signal received.
This is the most used technique through WiFi for indoor mapping. It is carried out in two phases, a first one where the data are collected, stored and analyzed and a second one where the data received in real time is compared with what we had at the moment.
There are many other methods but among them these are the two most accepted in the market.
Some indoor positioning platforms like SITUM, combine both techniques to obtain and further improve the accuracy and user experience.
Indoor Mapping, our solution
In Geographica, we are already developing indoor mapping solutions using SITUM technology, a unique indoor positioning platform that helps to position people and objects in a certain space, adding Location Intelligence and maps of CARTO and our smart dashboards. Our solution allows real-time visualization of sales data.
Together we have created a very satisfactory solution and values companies because far from just positioning items and people, through the capture and processing of information and representation in scorecards, it allows the decision making much more informed, improving the efficiency of the business or institution itself.
Uses of Indoor Mapping
As you can imagine, indoormapping, within the business and institutional environment has a large number of uses and applications. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Positioning and location
Indoor mapping allows you to position objects and people in a closed environment. This is especially important in hospitals, airports and in general any environment with large concentrations of people. This allows for example to have patients, clients, children etc. always located within those spaces. Which is a qualitative advantage.
- Calculation of the fastest route between two points
Another of the most common uses of indoor mapping is the calculation of the route between two points. It can be applied in stores and shopping centers where we would be able to locate ourselves and easily from the mobile determine how to reach the store or the product we came to buy.
At airports and subway or train stations also add value to the user. The greater the size of the establishment, the greater the utility of these applications.
- Location of hot spots for sale
The applications of indoor mapping, in addition to geolocating people and objects in an indoor environment, it allows us through sensors, the collection of data in real time.
Thus we can know what points within the premises are those from which you buy more those from which you buy less and can modify the positioning of items that are easier to sell at those points where there are fewer purchases and vice versa to improve the final results.
- Traffic management
Knowing the exact location of all the people and objects that are in our center in real time and the analysis of the historical data allows us to know which are the points with more agglomeration. This allows us to calculate alternative routes.
- Improvement of the decision-making process
Data collection in real time, being able to know exactly what is being sold at each point, knowing the exact influx of people in the centre…. Each and every one of them are sources of information of invaluable value for those in charge of the management of any business.
Thanks to the information process and the use of dashboards that show all this information already processed, it contributes to a better decision making.
- Improve the user experience
Better traffic management, knowing exactly where you have to go, being able to easily locate you in a business, are some of the aspects that make indoor mapping help to improve the user experience and helping to improve the competitive position of the entity in question.
- Offers Personalization
The most important requirement for indoor mapping applications to work is for the user to take their mobile or device with them and enter the app, allowing in commercial environments to associate a user with a particular purchase.
This is nothing new, since any business that has loyalty cards can know specifically what to buy each of their customers, however, the novelty comes in the possibility of creating customized offers depending on the location in the mall or establishment Of the user.
A unique solution that provides valuable information for companies and institutions. Indoor mapping is opening up a range of possibilities unattainable until now for strategic decision-making, marketing and business intelligence in the business environment while adding value to the user.
If you want to know more about Indoor Mapping do not miss the webinar that Héctor García is going to carry out next April 20 at 7 in the afternoon. It’s free. Sign up.