Indoor positioning systems can combine people or objectives in real life with spatial data information to provide the location information of people or objectives in real life, so that the people or objectives can be searched, located, and connected in the same way that online information is, so as to be allowed to locate people or objectives.
So, what is an Indoor Positioning System? In this article, Wayne Wang and Klay Li from Blueiot technical team lay out the fundamentals you need to know about IPS and the typical wireless technologies that are applied in IPS.
An indoor positioning system (IPS) is a network of devices used to wirelessly locate objects or people inside a building. Instead of using GPS, an IPS relies on anchors, which either actively locate tags or provide environmental context for devices to sense. IPS can easily locate your smartphone ( or other portable navigation device). Just like GPS, IPS can establish a location fix completely passively.
Additionally, Indoor positioning systems are networks of transmitters and receivers. Transmitters usually take the form of tags or badges attached to the asset or person they track. Receivers, sometimes called tags, receive location and ID information from transmitters and relay it to a connected management system.
With the development of IPS, there are many different management and wireless technologies that can be applied to Indoor Positioning Systems. In recent years, UWB, RFID,Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are typical and leading wireless technologies that widely be used in IPS.
An IPS gives operators access to a wealth of information. Operators can use these systems to locate critical assets or people in real time, generate tracking reports, monitor performance trends over time, and customize when alerts are triggered. For example, a system operator could configure an audible alert to immediately sound if a high-value tracked asset passes through an exit point.
What are the leading indoor positioning technologies?
Ultra-Wideband (UWB) is a wireless communication technology that uses short-range radio waves to transmit large amounts of data over short distances. UWB has the ability to provide highly accurate indoor positioning, object detection, and communication between devices. It operates at a very high frequency and can transmit data at very high speeds.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID is a wireless communication technology that uses radio waves to identify and track objects. An RFID system consists of a tag or a label attached to an object, a reader, and an antenna. The tag or label contains a small electronic hip that stores information about the object, and an antenna that transmits the information to the reader through radio waves.
RFID technology is widely used for inventory tracking, supply chain management, asset tracking, and access control. It offers a fast and efficient way to collect and manage data about objectives and can operate without line-of-sight or a direct connection between the tag and reader.
Wi-Fi is commonly used in indoor positioning systems (IPS) as it provides an efficient and cost-effective solution for tracking the location of people and objects within indoor spaces.
IPS using Wi-Fi typically involve the installation of Wi-Fi access points throughout a building or indoor space. These access points emit signals, which are received by devices with Wi-Fi capability, such as smartphones, tablets, or specialized tracking tags. By analyzing the signal strength and location of the access points, the IPS software can determine the position of the device with a high degree of accuracy.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices to communicate with each other over short distances.
Bluetooth uses radio waves to transmit data between devices. It operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and uses a low-power wireless signal to communicate between devices. Bluetooth-enabled devices can connect and disconnect from each other automatically without cables or manual setup. Bluetooth can be used in indoor positioning systems to detect the location of a device inside a building or other indoor space.
Bluetooth-based indoor positioning systems can be used in a variety of applications, including indoor navigation , asset tracking, and location-based marketing. For example, a Bluetooth-based indoor positioning system could be used to guide visitors through a museum or shopping mall or to track the location of equipment in a hospital or manufacturing facility.
Among all those technologies, Bluetooth Low Energy AoA led to a wave of commoditized solutions (is the future) for indoor positioning tracking and navigation after the release of the Bluetooth Core Specification v5.1 in 2019.
BLE AoA (Angle of Arrival) technology is indeed a promising technology for indoor positioning. It uses Bluetooth signals to measure the angle of arrival of the signal, which can be used to determine the position of a device with high accuracy in indoor settings. The technology is highly accurate, making it ideal for a variety of indoor applications, from retail and hospitality to healthcare and manufacturing. Its low power requirements and compatibility with most smartphones also make it easy to adopt and integrate into existing systems. BLE AoA (Angle of Arrival) holds great potential as a key technology for indoor positioning in the future.