How New Technologies Impact Indoor Positioning

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The precise indoor location of assets within a building enables the optimization of internal logistic processes and personnel management, making it a vital tool for enhancing efficiency while decreasing expenses.

FREMONT, CA: Most people have certainly encountered this situation before: they are within a large structure, such as a retail mall, event center, or underground parking garage, and their navigation system is having difficulty locating people on the map. This is typically caused by the structure's concrete walls degrading GPS signal. Contextual information might be provided by smartphone apps based on location. People can use this information to obtain driving directions, locate a store, or sign up for notifications about nearby deals. These convenient functions are made possible by GPS, which requires exposure to the outside for optimal accuracy. However, they may have difficulties retrieving this information within massive structures due to a weak GPS signal.

Accurate indoor positioning systems (IPS), which utilize public sensors and user consent, can deliver some level of location-based information even when the user is not outside. An (IPS) is a network of devices used to identify persons or items in areas where GPS and other satellite technologies are insufficiently precise or fail. This includes multi-story structures, airports, alleys, parking garages, and underground areas. Current IPS solutions are imprecise, particularly in multi-story buildings. This article provides an overview of the currently available intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

Some of the indoor positioning technologies are as follows:

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology can determine a person's or object's general location, enabling continuous asset tracking with at least room-level accuracy using BLE sensors/beacons. Calculating position using the Angle of Arrival (AoA) method enables significantly more exact localizations but comes at a considerable expense for sensor infrastructure support and hardware. Due to their low cost and ease of use, Bluetooth Low Energy and Beacons have emerged as the ideal indoor locating technology.

WiFi-based systems use WiFi transmitters as tags to communicate with multiple WiFi access points. Information algorithms use these readings to determine the source's location. Eventually, the location data is delivered to a cloud environment. While systems based on WiFi and 'time difference of arrival (TDOA) technologies provide a reasonable level of precision (within 3 to 5 meters), they can be somewhat costly.

Through three-dimensional location, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) systems attain incredibly high accuracy. The tremendously wide UWB signal and the capacity to transmit a vast pulse over a GHz spectrum enable continuous, highly accurate asset tracking. Historically, UWB-based systems have attained the highest levels of precision. Despite the low cost of UWB tags, each location must have at least three readers due to the tags' limited range. This dramatically increases the cost of a UWB solution compared to a BLE solution.


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