Micello Blog: Indoor Cartography
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Wearable tech is all the craze following the announcements for Google Glass, health bands, Samsung Gear and finally, Apple Watch. We’re excited about these new ventures and form factors, and we’re already seeing the importance in being able to integrate indoor maps into any device for developer’s applications, including wearable tech.
Like most in the Valley, we’ve been keeping close tabs on these product announcements to make sure we’re fully up to date on the latest features and functions each new platform can offer. And yes, we’re already thinking of the new frontier for our indoor maps platform.
One thing to remember about Micello’s indoor map platform is that it is very flexible. Part of making our SDK one of the most flexible map SDK around was designing an fairly sophisticated plug-in architecture that gives developers the ability to share, fork and improve upon new features in a standardized format. By doing this, we’ve also kept the API code clean and short so that it is easy to develop complex applications from all your favorite tools and integrate them seamlessly with an indoor map.
It’s an exciting time you might for this industry and we’d love to hear your take on this. Is this the future of indoor maps?
While maps can be a fantastic feature for any customer based application, the need for indoor maps doesn’t stop there. We’ve seen a lot of customers over the past couple of years ask about indoor maps that can be incorporated into internal tools. Knowing exactly where all your employees and guests are inside the venue can be a vital component for any internal application. Directly from the industry leaders that we speak to on a day to day basis, here is the most requested features for an awesome internal application.
Data Measurement: Long gone are the days of making important company decisions based on your gut alone. In today’s data driven world, it is possible to make important decisions, partly based on measurable results. Where to place an advertised product, where are your employees spending the most time, is the venue fully stocked, are there any hazards present that put firms as risk for liability? These are the kinds of questions that we see industry leaders asking themselves. A great example of this is heat maps that are increasing in popularity within the IT circle. However, instead of a static floorplan that can only show you the limited data, an interactive map has the capability to measure this data and allow you to act based on it. Our unique geometry ID system contextualizes this data far better than a static floor-plan. Micello gives enterprises the ability to not only display their data, but also interact with it and make those really important decisions based on a living and breathing map that adapts as they progress.
“Micello gives enterprises the ability to not only display their data, but also interact with it in order to make those really important decisions based on a living and breathing map that adapts and changes with them.”
Location Tracking: This seems to come up a lot with customers looking to monitor their traffic and employees throughout the day, especially with the busy shopping season just around the corner. Knowing where your employees are spending the majority of their time can allow companies to target their scarce resources to the problem areas that would be otherwise hidden. Safety is always a huge concern for these customers and Micello’s maps allow companies to both monitor and measure it. Besides safety, we’re finding other companies who love the idea of having their employees be able to instantly see their co-workers location on an indoor map because it can be pretty hard to find each other on a large business campus. Meetings, email, lunch, sales calls, brainstorming and other day-to-day tasks can make the act of finding your co-workers a real chore. Micello aims to end the annoyance of this task by giving users the ability to find their co-workers instantly, no matter where they are on campus.
“Safety is always a huge concern for these customers and Micello’s maps allow companies to both monitor and measure."
Emergency: When Micello first began, indoor maps was still a very new and almost undiscovered concept. During our early years, we were paid a visit by the first Chief Technology Office of the United States, Aneesh Chopra in our first Sunnyvale, CA location. Mr. Chopra was fascinated by our indoor maps and immediately saw the potential they had to help emergency personnel navigate their way into a dangerous situation. Fast forward some months after this meeting and President Obama specifically mentioned indoor maps in his 2011 State of the Union by stating, "It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device.” We knew indoor maps would be a huge plus for emergency personnel and while the maps we publish for these kinds of customers remain private, we see the value in having first responders with indoor maps being able to see your location and be able to find you quicker.
"It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device.” - President Barack Obama 2011 State of the Union Address
So whether you are a first responder, a computer programmer, or a grocery stocker, indoor maps can make you and your co-workers jobs much easier. Micello ensures that your sensitive materials remain private to you. By working together with industry pioneers looking to make their workplace safer and more efficient, we hope to help make the world a better place. To learn more about indoor maps, visit www.micello.com/start and to keep up to date on all the latest indoor mapping news, check-out our blog: www.micello.com/blog.
Over the past couple of months we’ve shared some great tips on how to customize and enhance your indoor mapping experience. In this post, we’re going to take a step back from all of that and get down to basics. What we’re talking about is main points we like to cover will all of our new customers to make sure their map implementation is very successful.
What materials do I need to make a map?
We’ve worked very hard over the past few years perfecting our map making process. Part of this required the ability to ingest many forms of map data provided by our clients. Almost anything you have can be ingested and processed into a Micello map. However, the better information and materials you provide us, the more detailed the map will be. Our maps have been created from sources such as: architecture maps, evacuation maps, emergency maps, layout maps, brochure maps, even photos from a mobile device such as iPhone or Android. From these sources, we generally can return a Micello map within 7-10 business days in image files (JPGs, PNGs, GIFs), PDF, CAD files and Microstation files.
How are the maps created?
We’ve developed an internal proprietary process and a finely tuned digital assembly line to create indoor maps. We’ve literally converted the art of map-making into a repeatable and scalable manufacturing process. We call this our “Map Factory.” Because our production facilities work in high volumes, your venues are created and maintained efficiently and in a timely manner. And one more important detail here: We never charge for making maps!
What is indoor positioning and do you have it?
Commonly referred to as “indoor GPS”, indoor positioning is the ability to ascertain your location inside a structure where normal GPS signals are unable to penetrate and provide an accurate position. We have integrated with many of the top companies and technologies and we’re constantly striving to add additional technologies to our mapping capability. Check out the full list of our positioning partners, at www.micello.com/partners
How much does it cost?
Micello charges a monthly subscription fee based on the number of venues registered in your account. Our maps start at just $49/venue per month. This includes unlimited access to the Micello platform and APIs for your mobile and web solutions. This means no restrictions, no usage cap, and no worries. In fact, most of our customers love the fact that Micello maps pay for themselves and are risk free as we allow them to add, subtract and cancel maps at anytime.
Do the maps come with navigation?
Absolutely! We’ve built an entire indoor navigation technology platform so we can offer the ability to find your way from one point to another inside the location. Our platform, which produces a unique and accurate network for each map, offers multiple types of routing including: point-to-point navigation, multi-floor navigation and even building to building navigation
Can I customize the map?
Built with a robust data structure, our maps are highly customizable using our Software Development Kit to do any of the following: change themes, add a deep integration to back end databases, add icons and markers, integrate with social media platforms, utilize product search, modify map controls, customize the UI, and even build in custom actions based on activities of the map. Of course, when the world changes around us, so do indoor maps so we are always working to add more customizations that we haven’t even thought of yet.
What kind of map products do you offer?
Can I see a map in action?
Not only are you seeing the map live on our API, but there are also some excellent customers examples that are currently live. Westfield Australia is perfect example of what some of our customers are doing with indoor maps:
If you’d like to speak with our customer solutions team to see how you can impliment an indoor map on your website or application, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to open a dialogue with you. To stay up date on all the latest indoor mapping news, check out www.micello.com/blog
Since Micello first launched in 2007, we’ve been making great strides in making indoor maps become a reality for everyone. When we began our journey, indoor maps was naturally a tough sell for many of our customers. This of course is to be expected as with any new company with a new technology. Fast forward 7 years later, and now when we go to discuss indoor maps with new clients, the question for them is no longer if, but when.
"when we go to discuss indoor maps with new clients, the question for them is no longer if, but when?”
We’ve partnered with some of the leaders in major industries. What draws these giants to Micello? Of course, each customer has their own reasons for using Micello maps, but one common pattern we see if the ability to have complete control over the map, yet still be able to create, manage and own the application themselves.
“able to create, manage and own the application themselves.”
Micello understands what enterprises actually want, because we’re working with them now. We see the value in data management, custom map controls + theming and a plugin architecture that makes the possibilities for our indoor maps endless.
“We see the value in data management, custom map controls + theming and a plugin architecture that makes the possibilities for our indoor maps endless.”
Because Micello has focused solely on indoor maps, our only goal is to make indoor maps, verify our data, and make sure that you’re 100 percent successful using our platform. Creating beautiful maps and building an awesome SDK for developers to integrate into their applications is what we do best.
“ Because Micello has focused solely on indoor maps, our only goal is to make indoor maps, verify our data, and make sure you’re successful using our platform. ”
If you’re ready to learn how you too can add indoor maps as low as $49 per month, make sure to check out www.micello.com/start to learn more. To keep up to date on all the latest indoor mapping news, visit www.micello.com/blog.
2013 Micello + CSR Retail Demo showcased at Plug-n-Play utilizing CSR’s bluetooth technology on Micello’s map.
Word spread quickly around the Micello office that Qualcomm was set to buy CSR for $2.5 billion. Qualcomm, a San Diego based giant, who is one of the largest chip makers in the industry saw the value in the UK company who has been a pioneer in developing some of the best bluetooth technologies out there. Its no surprise that Qualcomm saw the potential as many large chip companies are gearing up for the internet of things to take off.
If you’re not familiar with the term, Internet of things has been the term used to categorize a push toward connecting everything we use on a daily basis to the untapped resource of the internet. Wearable tech, homes, appliance, cars, TVs and a whole assortment of things are being redesigned by connecting them to the internet, hence the term, internet of things.
According to an article written by the New York Times, Qualcomm would pay CSR shareholders £9 per share. Naturally, CSR’s shares rose 33 percent to £8.78 Wednesday morning in London. It was also reported that CSR’s board fully backed the deal, with CSR Chairman, Ron Mackintosh saying, “We believe that the offer from Qualcomm provides CSR shareholders with an immediate and certain value which is highly attractive." Qualcomm CEO Steven MollenKopf had this to say, “The addition of CSR’s technology leadership in Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and audio processing will strengthen Qualcomm’s position in providing critical solutions that drive the rapid growth of the Internet of Everything, including business areas such as portable audio, automotive and wearable devices. Check out the full New York Times article: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/10/15/qualcomm-set-to-buy-british-chip-maker-for-2-5-billion/?_php=true&_type=blogs&partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0
We’re excited to hear about the deal, but also excited to see what Qualcomm can do with CSR’s technology to make our world even more connected with the indoor world around them. To learn how you can add indoor maps today, visit www.micello.com/start and to keep up to date on all the latest indoor LBS news, make sure to follow our weekly blog at, www.micello.com/blog.
In the end, it all comes down to the map. That’s the motto we’ve lived by these past few years when thinking of new ways to help our clients make the most out of an indoor map SDK. Once you’ve sifted through all the news and headlines about indoor positioning, indoor wayfinding, digital signage and other cool technologies, it all comes back to having the best indoor map SDK as possible in order to implement. Seriously, how useful is indoor positioning without having a map to put it on, right?
But what separates a great indoor map API (i.e. Micello) with the not so great map APIs? Here are just a few reasons why Micello has been rightfully dubbed “a map SDK for the enterprise.”
When Micello was founded, we started under the notion that customers would want to have an indoor map SDK that would give them 100 percent control over the data. This included reference materials, resell relationships and of course, the maps themselves. Not only have we seen an enormous interest in the ability to control the look, orientation and behavior of the map, but we’ve also got a lot of praise from our customers by giving them the ability integrate the map within their own internal tools. We’re not in the application building, advertising, or data collection business. We just build awesome maps, and we kind of like it that way!
It took a lot of planning and patience to get the price point we have today. What is that price, you ask? Starting at just $49 per venue/month, we let our customers take full advantage of the powerful SDK to build beautiful application for web and mobile. In the spirit of being the best, we had to throw in some quantity discounts that are automatically factored in to each micello account as they cross a certain number of maps. We make each and every map completely free initially and simply let you know once your map is ready to go. There is no pressure or commitment until you’re actually ready to go live!
Each and every map we build is entirely geo-accurate. In case you’re wondering what this means, it simply means that each and every point on the map corresponds with actual Lat/Long coordinates in the real-world. At first this may not sound like much, but if you pay attention to all the emerging technologies that are using Lat/Long coordinates for their functionality, the abilities suddenly become endless. If each Micello map has the exact coordinates of every product or store in a mall, you can begin to imagine the capabilities with this feature. In fact, we knew this would eventually become so important in the enterprise space that we went ahead and developed a specific tool that lets you easily find any Lat/Long coordinate on a Micello map!
These are just some of the reasons why many enterprise customers are flocking to Micello’s indoor map SDK. Of course, there is so much more our maps can do. In fact, we encourage you to visit www.micello.com to learn how you can also begin your indoor mapping journey. Make sure to also check out www.micello.com/blog to get all the latest indoor wayfinding news.
According to new research that was reported on by Mobile Marketing Watch, indoor location based search providers is expected to grow by 45% by 2018. So what does the industry look like right now?
There are some key vendors that are currently making it possible to piece together all sorts of different indoor based technologies to enhance capabilities. In fact, we are excited to consistently remain one of the key suppliers of indoor maps to developers all across the world who are using our maps to build an exciting ecosystem of indoor location based apps.
If you’re still not exactly sure what indoor location based service(LBS) is, we like to define it as the coming together of indoor maps and indoor positioning to contextualize the indoor world around us. Like outdoor maps and GPS has done for car travel, the possibilities here are endless.
But wait, there’s more. The same research concludes that as demand for these indoor location based services rises, so does the demand for maps to use them with. As a result, indoor maps are expected to increase to 200,000 venues by 2016.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here is just one of the key findings by this new market research:
“Most people in the U.S. spend more than 80 percent of their daily time indoors. In addition, more than 85 percent of mobile data in the US is generated from indoor locations. Advancements in positioning technology and survey methodology have made it easy to determine the location of a smart device.”
In case you’re wondering what this means for you, check out this short example of the kinds of technologies developers are already building with indoor LBS
Read the full article at http://www.mobilemarketingwatch.com/u-s-indoor-location-based-search-could-grow-45-44503/
Singapore is no stranger to indoor maps. In fact, beside the U.S., Singapore was one of the first places we looked to bring indoor maps. Naturally, we were the first, but that did not stop the imitators from quickly following. But what should an indoor map API in Singapore encompass?
Singapore, although small in total size, is actually a really big place. The only thing is Singapore is not wide, but tall. Singapore loves to build up and out, so naturally this means multi-level mega malls and airports that only the Mall of America could compete with. Micello has close to 100 venues completely mapped out in Singapore alone, making us the leading indoor map maker in Singapore.
(Updated on October 2, 2014)
But when we say an indoor maps API done the right way, we mean it! Micello is the only large indoor map supplier in the world that gives developers full control over the entire map. In fact, we put our customers in the cockpit by turning the control of the map over to them.
The internet is a big place so naturally you’ll find some map APIs out there that will claim to do indoor maps among other things, but at Micello we only do indoor maps. Our entire company is built on the goal of mapping every interesting building on the planet.
So how does this make Micello any different? Developer control makes all the difference when it comes to owning both the content and data that goes into building a great application. We hear a lot of things from our customers who have looked at those small indoor map imitators, but the thing that has always separated Micello is our hands off approach. Now, let’s remember that hands-off doesn’t mean we won’t be there when you need us, but rather, hands-off means we don’t dictate how you decide to implement, change and customize the map on your application.
Because we are not in the business of collecting data, advertising, or any other activities those other APIs do on the side, we simply build the map and let you build the application.
Indoor positioning has been in the news a lot in the past couple of years. Like any good technology, there is always a competition to see which positioning technology will win out. Bluetooth (beacons), WiFi triangulation, echolocation, and even hardware solutions are all racing against each other to become the one indoor positioning technology (IPS) to rule them all.
If you’ve seen all the headlines but still don’t know what Indoor Positioning is, check out this short clip of IPS in action:
(This video was created by Micello partner SenionLab in 2012)
The ability to monitor and track a user’s location as they move along a map is one of the most common requests we hear from developers. In all fairness to developers, it’s definitely understandable why this is necessary to have. Here are just some of the abilities that are possible after plotting a user’s location on a map:
This seems to be a very popular idea among enterprises, but what exactly does this mean? By knowing a user’s location as they move in real time on the map, the ability to ingest this data gives enterprises the ability to better target their promotions. Think of it like this, would you be more tempted to buy an item if you saw an advertisement for the item while you were relaxed and sitting on your recliner at home, or would you be more tempted to buy the item while you were only one aisle over from the item itself? It may very well be the same exact advertisement, but when companies know where you are in their stores, they can better target their promotions. This is just one of the benefits of retail data. This doesn’t even begin to describe the implications it might have on internal tools.
It’s not a surprise to anyone that people are increasingly using their smartphones more and more. The desire to remain connected is ever present in our lives. So what does this have to do with indoor positioning? Giving users context of the world around them is at the heart of indoor wayfinding. Knowing where you are is definitely important, but what’s also important is knowing where your friends and family are. Think back to how many times you simply ‘bumped’ into someone while you were out shopping. Now add indoor positioning into this scenario and suddenly, you provide familiarity and control to the user. Now they get to see which one of their facebook friends is shopping in the same mall they are, or which one of their linkedin contacts is walking around at the same business conference. What’s important to remember here is that unlike outdoor wayfinding, indoor wayfinding applications can fill much more uses cases than just finding your way around. If the world wide web created a new frontier, then indoor wayfinding is about to show you where you’re standing in that frontier.
If all the other reasons weren’t enough to convince you of the awesomeness of IPS, perhaps increasing shopper efficiency will. Think back to your last online purchase. Whatever it was, why did you buy this item online? Maybe it’s because that was the only place you could find it, but what’s more likely is that it was to get the best price and save a trip to the store. Smartphones and online shopping are making it much easier to shop online. Why is it so easy to shop online versus shopping in the store? Mainly because I sit at my computer, type in the product i’m looking for and presto….I find it, then buy it. Before people start saying this is the end of brick and mortar stores, let’s remember that there still is some luxury in being able to see what you buy before you buy it, no matter what it is. The only issue with brick and mortar shopping is the thousands of products that are thrown at you as you walk in. Basically, it’s just really hard to find stuff sometimes. It takes time to first find the section of the store the department is in, then to browse up and down the aisles looking for it. IPS can give users the ability to instantly see where they are in the store, then instantly know where they need to go to find what they are looking for. Now instead of aimlessly moving across the store from one department to the other, IPS allows me to plan my shopping by routing me to the exact brands i’m looking for in the order they appear by proximity to my actual location.
Micello works with some excellent indoor positioning companies to offer fluid indoor positioning integration on our map. Like adding custom colors on a map, indoor positioning is just another feature that the Micello API can fully support. While all of our maps by default come equipped with navigation routing, IPS is something we love to see coupled with our maps. And because our maps have the ability to overlay objects on the map, we can work with your favorite IPS technology (no matter what it is) to integrate with our maps.
In April 2013, Micello announced that it had over 15,000 indoor maps available on our platform. It’s now over a year later we’re still hard at work continuing our mission of covering every interesting building on the planet. Speaking of coverage, we’re excited to highlight our coverage tool micello.com/places. We’re definitely a data visualization kind of bunch so we figured why not visualize our coverage around the globe for the world to see?
When you first open www.micello.com/places, you’ll notice a Google outdoor map appear inside the Micello.com window. As the page loads, various colored pins will drop on the map signifying the location of a Micello map. It may take a few moments to fully cache, but don’t worry you’ll see the pins soon!
See that Now Viewing bar on the left side of the map? This is a smart tool-bar which tells you exactly how many different types of maps are located in the specific area your window hovers over. It also allows you to quickly jump to major cities and different countries.
Feel free to pan and zoom around the map and find all the cool places Micello has mapped near you. Once you find a venue that looks interesting, simply click on the desired pin. See that pop-up window below? There are three ways to view the map. If you’re on your phone go ahead and select Mobile. If you are at your computer, Place Page and Preview the Map are great ways to open the map. After selecting any one of the three options, a new window will load in your browser displaying the Micello map.
For this example, I’ll go ahead and select Place Page. Now the map’s place page appears in the browser. Some Micello fans might not have known this, but each map’s place page offers a great example of the various social media API integrations. Foursquare, Yipit, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram post appear via their proximity on the map in this example.
Our micello.com/places is a great way to check out the awesome places that Micello has already mapped. If you check it out and don’t see the map you’re looking for, don’t sweat it! We’ll make the absolutely free: www.micello.com/maprequest
Make sure to check out all the latest indoor location news by visiting: www.micello.com/blog