Mobile World Congress 2018 Exhibits the Latest Trends in Indoor Localization

Bruce Krulwich, Grizzly Analytics

At least 33 companies are exhibiting indoor location technologies and solutions at the 2018 Mobile World Congress, taking place this week in Barcelona. While all of these companies are very different from each other, they collectively represent several huge trends in the indoor localization industry.

The first trend is highly accurate localization. Indoor localization systems for years were capable of achieving only 4-5 meter accuracy. This is enough, for example, to know which store a person is in in a shopping mall, or which section of a store a shopper is in, but not which aisle they are in or what product they are considering. Recent technology advances have achieved accuracies of 15cm, often in 3D, enabling measurement not only of what aisle a shopper is in but exactly which product their hand is reaching.

If you want to see the highest accuracy in indoor localization, your first stops should be Quuppa and Marvelmind Robotics. These two solutions use drastically different technologies - Quuppa uses angle of arrival (AoA) measurements of Bluetooth signals, based on over 15 years of R&D, while Marvelmind uses ultrasonic sound wave measurements that have only recently been successfully used effectively for accurate localization. Quuppa’s solution works with both smartphones and tags, while Marvelmind’s is currently tag based, although they plan to move to smartphones soon. See below a video of Quuppa’s technology at last year’s Mobile World Congress.

See below a video of Marvelmind:

But you need to visit the boothes of these two companies to see the state of their technology today.


The second trend is infrastructure-free localization. Most indoor localization solutions require installation of dedicated locators or beacons, which provide radio signals used in locating devices or tags moving around. But there are tremendous advantages to a solution’s being infrastructure-free, meaning that it can operate without any additional infrastructure. This enables much easier installation, and in some cases enables a device to localize itself universally, at any location, without involvement of specific sites

If you want to see infrastructure-free localization in action, your first stops should be Navenio, GipsTech, Navin and Situm. Navenio, has been developing indoor localization solutions for years, achieving several meter accuracy with no infrastructure deployment. GipsTech similarly uses no deployed infrastructure, only motion sensing and magnetic field measurements, to achieve a striking 2m accuracy as measured in a 2017 testbed. Navin is using their infrastructure-free technology to power a crowdsourcing network, to deliver localization without any site preparation. Situm uses both motion sensing and signals of opportunity to deliver localization for apps with minimal setup.

See below a video of GipsTech’s performance at a 2017 testbed at Geo IoT World:

See also below a video of Situm’s solution at last year’s MWC:


Another trend is network-based localization, moving the effort of computing location positions off the device and into the network. Device-based localization has the advantage of scalability, with little increase in server or network requirements as the number of devices rise, but requires significant CPU and battery from the devices being localized. But if a network of locators or beacons can localize devices in their vicinity, not only is device CPU and battery not needed, but devices do not need to run an app in order to be localized. If you want to see network-based localization in action, your first stops should be Quuppa and PoLTE.

Of course, these are only a few out of at least 33 companies exhibiting or discussing indoor localization technologies at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The others include great companies, each with their own advantages: some have easy installation and setup, some have the most mature solutions, many have specific niche markets in which they excel. The Grizzly Analytics Guide to Indoor Location Technologies at MWC gives you a map of where these companies are exhibiting, along with a brief categorization and profile of each. If you are interested in recent advances and trends in location technologies, MWC is the location to be.

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