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Indoor Positioning System: The Profit-Boosting Technology

Ivan Muts
September 1, 2021
10 mins to read

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    Before delving into an indoor positioning system, it is worth mentioning that GPS technology uses satellite signals to identify a location of a person or object outdoors. While GPS technology does its best in outdoor environments, IPS (indoor positioning system) is aimed at pinpointing an accurate location of people and assets indoors with the help of connected devices, tracking tags, and software. In this article, we are going to shed light on IPS benefits and main features, technology types, and use cases across industries.

    What is an indoor positioning system and how does it work?

    IPS, in other words an indoor positioning system, is a technology that enables tracking people and assets within a network of devices that communicate with internal sensors that are installed across interior space. What does it look like? The incoming data is moved to the back-end software/application layer via internal sensors to calculate the object’s indoor location through mathematical algorithms. To make this process viable, software engineers use different IoT technology stacks depending on the goal and application requirement:

    We named only the main IPS technologies but there are also additional technologies available as well.

    Indoor Positioning System Technologies, Euristiq

    Indoor positioning systems are gaining traction across a variety of industries where location-based services are indispensable. The value they can bring refers not only to building owners and businesses but also to users who can get more simplified and streamlined experiences. Yes, in any case, businesses get a competitive edge.

    In a nutshell, with indoor location tracking apps, users can view the space on the app’s map with the possibility to use it in real-time and find specific destinations. And business owners can gain new revenue streams and improve the overall building management. For example, by providing customers with IPS opportunities, businesses can help them save time getting to a particular store in the shopping mall. As a business result, your customers got a positive experience, you increased the chance to double your customer base.

    Let’s see a specific use case: a shopping mall in Great Britain is a good example where IPSs are proved to be essential for efficient customer tracking. Euristiq helped the world’s largest health and beauty retail group with over 15,000 stores across the globe develop a low-cost in-store customer tracking system to get more visibility of customers’ behaviors and movements, their returning, popular zones, and resource allocation. As a result, a client got an indoor tracking system that improves customer experience, optimizes employees’ routines, and points businesses where to place products thanks to comprehensive data obtained via smart sensors and devices.

    Now let’s stop and outline the main benefits for your business and which technology you need to implement. And then we will cover the main industries which apply IPS technology to optimize their internal logistic processes and staff management and, finally, how all these can help reduce and optimize your expenditures.

    What are the main types of indoor positioning technology?

    There are different locating methods available depending on the frequency and accuracy of positioning required. Each of them has its own pros and cons. Therefore, we cannot offer a one-size-fits-all solution unless without analyzing your business requirements and needs.

    For example, if you’re looking for a cheap solution – an RFID system is an option but not in cases where moving positions need to be determined. Your asset can be tracked with high accuracy using UWB technology but it’s by far the most expensive solution. So let’s get into details and make a comparison of the main technologies.

    Types of indoor location tracking technology

    The Main Types of Indoor Tracking Technology, Euristiq


    Based on the fingerprinting method, the Wi-Fi’s main operating principle is RSS (received signal strength) which depends on the distance between sender and receiver. Although Wi-Fi indoor positioning systems provide a high level of accuracy and great coverage, this technology needs at least three access points to receive each tag transmission. Moreover, the accuracy depends on the obstacles and moving objects. The resolution for this problem is a map of RSS specific for a given area. In addition, power consumption is considerable.

    Nevertheless, one important benefit of Wi-Fi technology is its possibility to use pre-existing networks infrastructures which minimizes the need for further installations, and, in turn, additional expenditures.


    BLE uses almost the same principle as Wi-Fi. Nowadays, using Bluetooth low-energy beacons is the most widespread indoor positioning technology. The main advantages of BLE are long-life battery transmission and cost-effective installation. Among downsides, low coverage is the most concerning one, however, BLE needs low-power consumption.

    Through beacons that are reference point-based systems, radio signals are transmitted to the device in an optimal position accuracy at 1 meter.

    UWB (ultra-wideband)

    UWB is a wireless protocol for communications that operates via radio waves. High accuracy and low latency make UWB technology stand out from other ones. Also, the ability to penetrate glass, concrete, and wood materials, makes this technology the most appropriate for indoor environments for multiple industries. Moreover, the more accurate location-based data a building owner can obtain, the greater insights this data can provide to achieve new levels of efficiency.

    The main drawback of UWB is that it requires ad-hoc installations since it is not available in buildings or on smartphones. However, with that said, we can predict the rise of Apple Airtags which have already become a hit for IoT adoption by the consumer asset tracking industry. But how do you think, will UWB-based AirTags impact the IoT adoption by businesses across industries?

    So let’s return to UWB functionality, in particular, a pinpoint precision it can deliver to business owners. Do they really need it? Exactly this question you need to ask before implementing this type of technology since, maybe, the precise location of an asset or a person is not what you are looking for? For instance, if you need indoor positioning solutions for your hospital, a UWB-based system, presumably, is not the right option; instead, proximity-based solutions will be better and cheaper. But for manufacturing asset tracking that requires precise inventory management – UWB can bring enormous benefits.


    Radio frequency identification uses electromagnetic fields to transmit the identity (ID) and to track tags attached to people or objects. Due to its highly limited range, RFID tracking allows for only spot localization. Therefore, it is not possible to track assets continuously since RFID technology enables assets to be identified at a certain moment and a certain location. Because of this characterictics, they are often combined with other technologies to bring more value.

    The main benefits are cost-effectiveness thanks to inexpensive hardware and ease of maintenance.

    RFID can be passive, active, and semi-passive.

    Why do businesses invest in the IPS systems?

    According to a research report by MarketsandMarkets, the global indoor location market is expected to increase to almost $41 billion by 2022.

    Data obtained from IoT-based systems help streamline business processes and drive tangible results. Behind the global trend for deploying IPSs are a number of drivers, the most important among which are:

    Further on we’ll describe what are the main reasons why businesses tend to invest in indoor positioning systems and how they impact their business growth and performance rate.

    The main benefits of IPS are:

    Use cases for indoor location tracking

    Smart offices

    Nowadays smart office solutions have gained momentum due to the need for facility managers to optimize HVAC expenditures and improve occupants’ conditions and conveniences. Let’s see how indoor positioning systems can impact cost savings and process flow optimization.

    We noticed that under-utilization of offices is a significant problem that companies want to solve. Our company had an opportunity to resolve this problem for one Canadian company Tektelic which aimed to create intelligent workplace utilization. Overbooking was the main issue leading to inefficient utilization of space. Euristiq developed a smart office application allowing to collect data through the uplink payloads sent by room sensors and use this data to track the occupancy. Now with user-friendly IoT dashboard employees and office managers can record performance, and see real-time analytics which can help them efficiently manage their workload and ensure efficient room capacity.

    Shopping malls and large stores

    Indoor navigation has to be an essential part of your retail business if you want to ensure better coordination of internal processes and provide your customers with better experiences. Let’s formulate the main benefits retail business can gain from indoor positioning systems:

    Without value-driven data about in-store customer shopping behavior and efficient resource allocation, mall owners miss the opportunity to make smart data-based decisions. It is of high importance to track how customers are walking through the store, what sections are the most popular, etc.


    Regarding IPS implementation in the healthcare sector, the first, that comes into mind is the navigation of patients and healthcare workers and asset tracking in the building. Yes, it is one of the main possibilities hospitals can get once installing indoor location systems. But there are much more applications available in healthcare that go far beyond.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare reality has changed. Now the pandemic has triggered healthcare institutions to review their approaches toward treatment. Lack of hospital beds, inefficient allocation of assets and equipment, the high workload of medical personnel, etc. – all this has resulted in the necessity of healthcare systems to re-evaluate their existing strategies. The advent of IoT in healthcare has enabled doctors and clinicians to monitor their patients efficiently and accurately in real-time.

    The global IoT in the healthcare market is estimated to reach a valuation of US$ 469.4 bn by 2027, the end year of the forecast period.

    Let’s examine different use cases of IPS deployment:

    Multi-storey car parks

    Today parking a car is a critical issue not only for businesses but for everyday drivers. This problem has challenged the development of intelligent transportation (TMS), fleet management, and car parking systems.

    To take your business to a new level, it is worth considering smart car parking management systems that ensure convenient navigation inside multi-level parking slots and optimal routes for a free space. Also, you as a business owner might want to offer a sustainable parking solution that would enhance the utilization efficiency and comfort of your workers.

    Indoor positioning technology uses devices and sensors to track the occupancy of parking lots by sending data to cloud getaway and once it is analyzed it moves to the network server. As a result, a driver gets a notification in the app on his smartphone about the nearest free lot.

    How do indoor positioning systems facilitate the successful management of daily mobility proactively? The main benefits are:

    How to determine which technology is suitable to your own IPS?

    Before selecting the right technology for an IPS, there are three things we recommend to consider:

    Are you ready for advancements?

    If you want to significantly

    Indoor positioning systems are a great solution to invest in. There are different technologies, the selection of which depends on the needs of your business and your budget. If you still have any questions contact us – we will help you weigh all pros and cons of each technology.

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