Micello Blog: Indoor Cartography

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Yesterday, micello attended the CSR Locations and Beyond Summit.  The Locations & Beyond Summit brings together global leaders in the location ecosystem, to discuss trends, share ideas, and  create a unified approach to market growth and innovations.   This event gave micello the opportunity to meet with the who's-who of location based services, and showcase the micello map created for the conference on the guidebook application.  
Guidebook utilized the Micello platform in conjunction with the early access CSR APIs to access micello's geospatially accurate map with indoor positioning. This provided attendees with the ability to navigate the conference easily as their location was clearly shown on the indoor map.  Check out some screen shots below.  
By mid-day there were conference attendees coming to the micello display to view the live map.  Several people took the phone displaying the map and began to wonder around, watching the blue dot move with each step they would take.  For LBS professionals it was a "pretty cool" experience.  Someone in a hurry asked "where's the bathroom"- he was very happy to find our map.  Conference maps give us the opportunity to help professionals make the most of a short amount of time, knowing where everyone and everything they need are located. Watching people use our maps and witnessing the moment they "get it" is exciting.   
November 2, 2011

Last week, Bee Media showcased the Micello interactive map at the International Shopping Centre Counsel Conference in Toronto (October 20th and 21st, 2011).  Bee Media is a virtual shopping assistant that helps you find the best deals wherever you are by sending fantastic offers from shopping centers and retailers in your vicinity to your smartphone, so its only fitting they attend the largest retail conference in Canada.  

Most conferences show floor are a maze.   ICSC is the largest retail convention in Canada.  Featuring over 800 retailers, 2,500 attendees and 150 exhibitors; it is the place to be in order to network with the whos-who of retail.

Bee Media showcased our interactive map of the conference floor and how an attendee could easily navigate from place to place clearly identifying the locations along the way.  "To say it was a hit was a understatement!... It was wonderful!" Kristen Dalrymple,Director, Operations, Bee Media

Conference maps give us the opportunity to help professionals make the most of a short amount of time, knowing where everyone and everything they need are located.  Watching people use our maps and witnessing the moment they "get it" is exciting.   




October 25, 2011

Micello was invited to present at the App Planet Mobile China conference last week.  This was a one day app conference surrounding the Mobile App world between China and Silicon Valley.  Mobile China Forum is an open and non-profit community for the mobile industry in Silicon Valley providing valuable information for the Mobile & App world.  Micello was among many developers, entrepreneurs, leaders, and visionaries at this event.   The focus of the conference includes apps, platforms, devices, solutions, tools, and startups.

Check out Micello's David Lo, Director, Customer Solutions was on-site presenting.

You can see more information about App Planet Mobile China here, or check out more photos of the event here.  

October 24, 2011

This year the DEMO Team celebrated 20 years of finding innovation where it lives.  In the last 20 years DEMO has selected 1,500 companies to launch on the DEMO stage.  Reviewing the DemoFall 2011 alumni, micello is thinking about how these companies could benefit from indoor maps; its been said before- indoor maps will be a game changer, and we believe that's true.   

The winner of DemoFall 2011, Aurasama, is an app that uses technology that is capable of recognizing images, symbols and objects in the real world and understanding them.  Imagine micello maps integrated with this technology.  Not only could indoor maps be useful for the object placement recognition but also for an exact location of the venue displayed on the app.  
Companies like trueRSVP and schedulicity, applications that manage calendars and events could also benefit from the use of indoor maps.  If these applications offered a map of the event, for instance the layout of food tables, bars, dance floor or just a map of the office building for meetings, imagine how useful it would be for the user.  Other consumer based companies like GIMME!,  an application that allows shoppers to redeem discounts at the point of sale using a smartphone instead of a paper voucher, and Get.com, a website helping shoppers make faster and smarter decisions about their purchases could use indoor maps to show the consumer where these products are available, and exactly where in the store the item is located.  This strategy would put a new meaning to doing your homework before you shop.  
Location-based services are increasingly moving indoors. Hundreds of applications on various mobile application stores provide compelling value propositions for consumers. Micello is excited to be part of this growing industry.  The indoors is considered the final frontier, the last uncharted mile in location-based services.  Our maps have and will continue to change the game of indoor location based services.


October 20, 2011

If youre at ICSC, in Toronto, ON, go to BeeMedia booth# 1012.  They're showing off a micello map of the conference that they have integrated in their application.  Check out a screenshot below.

ICSC is the largest retail convention in Canada.  Featuring over 800 retailers, 2,500 attendees and 150 exhibitors, you're sure to mingle with the whos-who of retail.  
October 18, 2011

Last week, we updated micello.com with a fresh new look.  We've changed things up, added some new tools and of course we've added more indoor venue maps.  This new design offers a one stop shop for users and developers.  From the new homepage you see the latest news, find your favorite maps, find our blog, and contact us.  Everything you need is one click away.  

Whats new?  
- We've taken the guess work out of finding maps.  Now, you can simply click the Maps Everywhere tile and find all of your favorite maps.  
- We'll share some of the maps that are coming out next week. Check it out on micello.com/upcoming (its a little rusty right now, we're cleaning it up). 
- You can also learn more about people at micello.  Our team page gives you an inside look at faces behind the maps.  
- Check out some amazing work done by current and former micello interns, and if you interested in joining our team, check out the job opportunities page. 
You can find us on facebook, check out our map of the week and watch micello videos on youtube from our new homepage.  These features give our users a developers everything they need to become more familiar with micello and our maps.  
We hope you like it as much as we do, remember, new look- same great maps!


October 18, 2011

We're excited to announce that there are now over 5,000 indoor venue maps available in our Map Network. What started with an experiment of mapping out a few locations in our neighborhood in the Bay Area (California) has grown to include thousands of locations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Singapore. 

Its been said before- indoor maps will be a game changer, and we believe that's true.  Location-based services are increasingly moving indoors. Hundreds of applications on various mobile application stores provide compelling value propositions for consumers. These applications allow people to do comparison shopping, find their friends in the neighborhood, or get the latest flight details at an airport. The indoors is considered the final frontier, the last uncharted mile in location-based services.  Our maps have and will continue to change the game of indoor location based services.  We're thinking outside the box, we've conquered shopping malls, released the top 100 airports in the United States, and we're growing our international presence. 
With so many maps to choose from we don't like to play favorites, but we do have a few.  Some of our favorites include: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas.  This was our first stadium map, and it holds the title of the only rodeo and NFL indoor/outdoor retractable roof, natural grass stadium.  When we think airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport comes to mind.  This is the busiest airport in the Unites States.  We have the largest shopping mall in the United States as well, King of Prussia Mall.  This map navigates 2,793,200 square feet of retail space.  Check out some screen shots below.
Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport , Atlanta, GA


King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA

5,000 is a big number, but it feels like we're just getting started. Thanks for being a part of our journey.  Check out our places page to find more of your favorite micello maps.   
October 17, 2011

The LocNav USA team recently published an interview with leading experts from Skyhook (Kipp Jones, Chief Architect), Ekahau (Arttu Huhtiniemi, Vice President, Product Management), Sony Ericsson (Magnus Persson, Specialist - Location Based Services Technology), OGC (Raj Singh, Director Interoperability Programs) and Sprint (Phyllis Reuther, Manager, Advanced Technology Research Lab: Mobile Analytics Group). The conference is taking place in San Jose on Oct 18-19.

The participants in the interview include: 
The first question was "Which key technologies are driving ubiquitous location and why?". 
We particularly like the answer from Arttu Huhtiniemi (Ekahau), who said "Firstly, smartphone platforms.  Low-cost, rich UI devices are now available everywhere. Secondly, ubiquitous WI-Fi."
We believe smartphones are the leading contributor and enabler for indoor location technologies. Millions of people are now walking around indoors with powerful sensors (on the phone) built in which can detect orientation and movement. Also, at micello, we've spoken to a number of companies building wifi-based indoor positioning solutions. With wifi-hotspots, its even possible to determine which floor level someone might be on. 
The second question was about the key technical challenges in delivering location everywhere, all of the time. 
Magnus Persson (Sony Ericsson) said "The key challenge is collecting the data that is needed to create high accuracy positioning solutions." 
We also liked Arttu Huhtiniemi's (Ekahau) answer that "there are no real technical challenges, but many challenges related to business models, applications, and availability of indoor maps."
Don't worry Arttu, we're going all out to build the worlds largest collection of indoor maps! We're working with a number of indoor positioning companies, providing them access to our indoor maps to help accelerate them to market. 
Third, why does precise positioning indoors matter so much?
Raj Singh (OGC) said "Precise indoor positioning matters in a host of applications, such as finding locations like shops, police, rest rooms, or (check-in) counters inside of airports, shopping malls, or public buildings. In an emergency response situation indoor navigation could provide escape routes from buildings and fastest routes for rescue personnel to a disaster area."
We were reminded by President Obama's State of the Union where he talks about putting indoor maps in the hands of firefighters. It would be incredible to track the movement of firefighters inside a building, and with the context of a map, help them find their way around. We strongly agree with Raj that precise indoor positioning will tremendously help a number of applications and grow the indoor location-services ecosystem. 
Fourth, which part of the value chain is set to profit most from ubiquitous location?  And what role will mobile carriers have?
We completely agree with Magnus Persson (Sony Ericsson) that "Application and end user service developers" will benefit.
We're working hard at micello to provide the richest set of indoor venue maps as a complement to the indoor positioning companies. 
Fifth, will a lack of viable business models hinder the adoption of indoor mapping and navigation? How long before we see widespread pick-up?
We think all the answers from the participants are good, however, the time estimate should be reduced by half. The number of inbound requests we see for companies interested in indoor maps is phenomenal, from retailers, airlines, convention centers, hospitals, conferences, hotels, casinos... we really are at the cusp of a massive hockey-stick growth in this industry! 
Phyllis Reuther (Sprint): "The advertising ecosystem has been slow to adopt mobile targeted advertising and it may be another five years before indoor navigation support and targeted couponing ecosystems have worked out enough bugs for the revenue distribution along the value chain to be equitable and sustainable. However, ubiquitous location awareness will be disruptive in other areas, such as market research and digital out-of-home advertising validation."
Magnus Persson (Sony Ericsson): "Yes, and the lack of well-defined formats to create indoor maps, which would make smaller players knowing for sure that the data will not be useless in 1 year.  My hopes are on during 2012."
Arttu Huhtiniemi (Ekahau): "Yes, it does. We estimate that indoor positioning starts with retail chains first."
Kipp Jones (Skyhook): "In 2-5 years we should see the hockey stick growth as the technology matures, costs decrease, and standards are created to scale to full market."


August 23, 2011

Last week, Thomas Husson at Forrester released a report titled Mobile Location Becomes Invisible. The report talks about  how companies like eBay and Groupon are using location technologies, like maps, local data and positioning.

We’re excited to share that the report includes information about micello and our indoor maps, going as far as saying “Indoor Location and Mapping Will Be a Game Changer”. Also, Forrester reports that amongst developers, maps are by far the most popular APIs (even more than social networking or search APIs)! Location is no longer a service, like maps and navigation, but an enabler of new products and experiences.

Just a few months ago, micello released the first ever set of indoor map APIs to help catalyze new experiences. Earlier this year, Unsocial demonstrated the integration of our conference map with other services. Now more than ever  the old saying stands true- location, location, location! To read more about the Forrester report click here.

August 19, 2011

In the last 12 months, a number of mapping companies have assisted in disaster relief efforts in various crises. Right after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, DigitalGlobe, a leader in providing aerial imagery, positioned their satellites to get the latest aerial views to support relief efforts. Google worked closely with GeoEye to document the devastation after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Imagine if all of the relief workers were equipped with indoor maps of the areas in need of aid.  We’ve started thinking along these lines, especially after President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union, where he said “it's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device."

Two weeks ago, we were stunned to hear of a possible gunman on campus at Virginia Tech.  As the site of the nations deadliest campus shooting in 2007,Virginia Tech is all to familiar with being unprepared for an emergency.

It just so happened, the very day before the emergency, Virginia Tech performed their emergency-preparedness exercises using mock victims, rescue teams and crowds of bystanders. The exercise centered around the idea that an explosion had taken down the campus infrastructure- resulting in loss of power, communications and of course injuries.  The purpose of the exercise is to create the sense of urgency that accompanies an actual emergency.

That real emergency happened the very next day.  Summer camp attendees reported a gunman on campus.  The university responded quickly- remembering the 2007 incident and the extreme measures that had been taken to prevent it from happening again.  Over 48,000 students and personnel received text alerts and emails, and campus was locked down for nearly six hours.  No gunman was found however and Virginia Tech was very prepared for this situation.  

Imagine if every emergency responder, student and campus personnel were able to view maps of every building on campus from their mobile device; imagine how improved that would make the emergency-preparedness of this university.

In the future as we grow our maps collection, we hope to be able to help in such emergency situations. If there is a map you think we should map out sooner, please send it our on way via comments or here.

Read more about emergency-preparedness at Virginia Tech.

August 19, 2011