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Real-Time Location For Android Devices

Oct 27, 2020

3 min read

By: Cara Hueston

We've discussed free systems that power indoor positioning on iOS devices - but what about Android?

An Indoor Positioning System (IPS) performs similarly to a GPS, except focused on the indoor built environment. This technology can be used to accurately locate people and objects within a building. Blue dot wayfinding, on the other hand, is a specific experience powered by IPS. The blue dot on a map serves as a “you are here” indicator and reflects a user’s current position. A good blue dot experience is made up of an IPS and a digital map. To learn more, we discuss evaluating IPS providers and blue dot in depth in our blog, What is Blue Dot Wayfinding?

Cost is a common barrier to accurate real-time positioning, as many of these systems require physical infrastructure that not only has a large upfront cost, but also ongoing maintenance costs to consider. Providers like Apple have tried to make these systems more accessible by creating an IPS that does not depend on expensive hardware. Through their work with companies like Mappedin, Apple can offer a free blue dot experience on a venue’s digital map. The only drawback? This experience primarily works on iOS devices.

So what about Android?

Companies like IndoorAtlas are working on solutions that utilize similar techniques to Apple, but that also support Android devices. Their platform is highly scalable and does not depend on expensive hardware in order to produce a device’s position. Considering that in 2020, Android devices held just under 75% share of the worldwide mobile operating system market, it is hugely beneficial to consider these devices as location technology advances around the world. IndoorAtlas provides a complete tech stack along with the building blocks for companies to add features such as geofencing, asset tracking, location intelligence, and more to their applications. 

Blue dot wayfinding can serve many use cases across different industries. In a shopping mall or stadium, for example, real-time positioning can greatly reduce visitor confusion. With these systems in place, businesses can integrate additional location-based experiences such as proximity marketing, wait time planning applications, and more, all with the goal of improving the user experience. 

There are other use cases, however, where IPS and blue dot become essential for user safety. There is an increased need for contact monitoring to help slow the spread of COVID-19, yet traditional softwares have a difficult time detecting contact events as people move inside and around buildings. By combining IPS and contact tracing applications focused on the indoors, businesses can assist in keeping their employees safe. 

Similarly, accurate and real-time location information can make all the difference in an emergency. In our blog 7 Ways Indoor Mapping Helps with Disaster Management, we discuss how blue dot technology can help users and emergency services. In a crisis, this technology can be imperative in keeping people safe which is why the solutions provided by Apple and IndoorAtlas are critical in ensuring that this software is accessible to all, regardless of device or operating system. 

We will continue to highlight providers that are helping to solve the indoor positioning challenge across both iOS and Android devices. To learn more about integrating indoor positioning systems and digital maps, contact us today.