Indoor location: It takes an ecosystem

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so too does the number of applications that demand precision location capabilities. And as the success of precision location grows outdoors, the market clearly expects that same sort of success for indoor localisation. But despite many indoor localisation trials taking place, few seem to end with full-sized commercial deployments.

The problem: The indoor location market is too big and multifaceted to be served by a single company, and that means a full slate of partners need to be involved for indoor location solutions to evolve and prosper, says Fabio Belloni, chief customer officer and co-founder, Quuppa.

A complete location solution includes dozens of capabilities and technologies, including location positioning technology; higher level functions such as mapping, routing and geofencing; beacon, chip, sensors and tag capabilities; industry-specific action rules and features for each verticals such as retail or factories, integration into client apps or sites, and more.

These pieces all require diverse skillsets and domain-specific expertises that generally can’t be found in a single company.

For the indoor localisation market to thrive, a broad ecosystem approach needs to be taken to developing and delivering solutions that incorporates expertise in hardware manufacturing, vertical industry services, customer systems integration and dozens of other piece parts that together will create not only robust solutions, but faster time to market and a better customer and end user experience.

Many companies work with one or two partners to bring solutions to market and call that an ecosystem. But a broad ecosystem approach allows customers so much more choice to get the exact location solution that meets the specific needs of their particular application. For companies that have multiple sites, for example, an ecosystem approach is especially compelling.

While no two indoor location deployments are ever the same, with different building layouts, scale and topographies, working with vendors that are part of a broad ecosystem means systems can be quickly planned and adapted to ensure the best systems are always available regardless of application or physical location. Companies need solutions that will deliver the same performance every time they are deployed. That allows companies to plan a deployment, implement the plan, and get exactly the performance they expect.

The beauty of an ecosystem such as this is that many of the companies over time find they are competing less and working together more, while finding their core piece of the market and the business model and technology expertise that works best for them within the ecosystem.

Fabio Belloni

One may provide installation services, one developing an application, one integrating into the client’s back-end, one developing analytics and other higher-level services, one manufacturing customised tags for the specific application, and more, all working together on their own particular area of expertise. The result is a wide breadth of solutions—with the same core location technology—across several vertical markets, including logistics, retail, healthcare, sports, law enforcement and security, government and many other industries.

But what’s equally important is the openness of core technology solutions, enabling them to fit seamlessly into a large ecosystem and integrate with a wide variety of software platforms, Bluetooth devices in different forms, numerous higher-level services such as geofencing and analytics, and other areas.

By not locking customers into any single hardware provider or software platform, the whole industry is able to move forward; any Bluetooth device with slight firmware modifications, from any ecosystem vendor, can be used in any deployment. Clients keep the flexibility of vendor choice and work with the best provider at every stage in the value chain.

The indoor location market is growing quickly, but to find true success, customers need to be able to scale quickly to meet their growing demands. An ecosystem approach can help them do just that.

The author of this blog is Fabio Belloni, chief customer officer and co-founder, Quuppa

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