Indoor Positioning System Trial Underway

GPSThe usefulness of GPS is indisputable.   From GPS enable child tracking devices to GPS data aggregation services like Google Maps’ real-time traffic reports, the technology has spawned several location based industries that are changing society.  An intentional limitation of the GPS system to which consumers have access is its resolution, which is limited to a few meters.  This limitation has prevented micro scale positioning applications, such as indoor positioning systems (IPS), from thriving on GPS technology.  Instead, WiFi and cell phone signal triangulation techniques have been employed with varying degrees of accuracy.

meijerNow, a company called Point Inside is developing maps of indoor destinations for use with its mobile smartphone indoor positioning applications.  Point Inside has announced that it is partnering with Meijer stores for a pilot program that will enable shoppers to “see the location of more than 100,000 items in a retail supercenter using their smartphones.”

“Point Inside’s platform facilitates the aggregation of destination-specific content, adding the critical context of location to each item.  This marrying of ‘what’ to ‘where’ enables shoppers to quickly find what they need at their destinations, whether it’s a specific department, service, like a fitting room or restroom, or even an individual product on the shelf.”

While current IPS technology will still likely limit product specific location information, the concept is compelling.  Imagine creating a weekly shopping list that is converted into optimized in-store navigational instructions in much the same way current GPS devices find the shortest route between destinations.  Users would simply follow the instructions on a smartphone, travelling from aisle to aisle, no longer wasting time searching for the right brand of chunky peanut butter or current sale items.

The technology might just make shopping a little more bearable.

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