The Competition of Indoor Navigation
most of you have the same experience that I have. When you fist step
in a new building, airport or school, you will feel loss and do not
know what to do first and where to go. For example, you are in a
hospital. It is difficult for you to find the place you want to go.
Many hospital use a not that effective way to solve this problem, of
course, it does not work at most of the time. They just set different
kinds of sign post or just use different colors to guide people.
However, now we have a really nice way to solve this problem, using
intelligent map system in mobile phone. It makes it's easy to find
some places in a building and other indoor places.
In the latest Android map, it includes US IKEA and Macy's and other 18 airport's detailed layout. Almost at the same time, Nokia announced they will release indoor map suing Bluetooth 4.0. Although use two totally different technology, we can smell that the war of indoor map is already begin.
For a long time, Bluetooth has a poor reputation. It maybe because that the headphone looks not like a human or something else. It makes people feel weird. However, Bluetooth is actually a really nice technology: powerful, simple, cheap. And it will be much more smart after the release of Bluetooth 4.0. Nokia's Location Extension Protocol uses the connection of locator transmitter on the ceiling and Bluetooth 4.0. And triangulation method that is similar to GPS. Through this way, your mobile phone can find the place you want to go accurately. It is said that the degree of precision is less than 8 inches.
Nokia has spent over one billion euros and hope this breakthrough technology will bring superiority in the competiton of indoor map. They have also discovered the different application of this tech, from game to indoor navigation. Nokia is now trying their best to persuade Bluetooth SIG to make one uniform standard and hope this kind of mobile phone can come out into market in 2013.
Just like that if there is no specific map, GPS can not work, the indoor navigation system can not work without a detailed architectural and structural drawings. Now Google allows uses to upload or add architectural and structural drawings to Google Maps as they do the same to SketchUp. This is a simple process, users just need upload the picture of the floor's layout and then connect with satellite images of Google Maps. Through this way, Google not only gets many users' support, uploading indoor maps data day and night, they also uses the data for other users, such as services based on location and ads based on location.
What I have said above is not considering the crime, privacy and other safe question. People are now really sensitive to Google Street View. I believe this kind of indoor map data will bring bigger controversy. In conclusion, we need indoor navigation when we are in a strange building to find places fast. However, we need to use it carefully. Hope Google and Nokia will solve these problems and provide us indoor navigation one day.