Micello Blog: Indoor Cartography
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The location has special meaning for us. Both Prakash Narayan and Anil Agarwal, VPs at micello, were at Sun Microsystems for many years. In fact, they operated out of the very same campus!
We’ve gone ahead and mapped it out… all 9 buildings, over 1,000,000 square feet and 3700 parking spots. Over the coming weeks and months, we’re sure many people will head over and visit the new campus. Our map will help them find their way around.
On Saturday (1/8/11), the Micello team was excited to host Mr. Aneesh Chopra, the Chief Technology Officer for the United States Government, at our headquarters in Sunnyvale. Mr. Chopra is going around the country to help find ways to grow the economy, create new jobs, find technology-based solutions to make health care more efficient and protect the homeland. He’s also probably one of the most energetic people we’ve ever met – always connecting the dots and finding ways to make things happen.
Ankit Agarwal, CEO of Micello, demonstrated the Micello Maps application running on the iPad (we checked out The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Mr. Chopra’s neighborhood). Within 30 seconds of seeing the indoor maps and talking through how people use the maps, Aneesh exclaimed, “Wow, this is awesome” and high-fived Ankit.
Later in the afternoon, Ankit and Mr. Chopra privately spent a few minutes talking about the value of indoor maps for hospitals, for government buildings and for first responders / emergency solutions. Recently, there has been a big push to release some government data via APIs for companies to build innovative solutions.
Special thanks to Mr. Chopra for coming over to visit us. The entire team enjoyed the meeting
WCA, Silicon Valley's Wireless Communication Alliance, conducted a panel discussion on indoor LBS at the Qualcomm premises in Santa Clara on Thursday, December 9th. The event was very well attended with 100+ paid attendees. Raj Singh did an excellent job in moderating the panel by asking all the right questions. The panelists included Ankit Agarwal of Micello, Jerry Luk of Presdo, Jeremy Geiger of Retailigence, Robert Schoenfield of Polaris Wireless, Kiyo Kubo of Spotlight Mobile, Tristian Lacroix of IndoorLBS, Josh Marti of PointInside and Jeremy Aqulnek of Navteq.
The panelists comprised of companies that provided indoor maps (Micello, Navteq and PointInside); companies that provided position (Polaris Wireless); companies that build applications that utilize both the maps and the position (Presdo, Spotlight Mobile, Retailigence) and an indoor observer (Indoor LBS). This was the first ever such discussion focused on the indoor - the last frontier to be conquered. As the blurb introducing the panel said, "It is estimated that North Americans spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. Yet nearly 100% of the mapping and location applications are built for outdoor use. As new technologies become available for indoor location and mapping providers begin to commercialize their systems, the dawn of the indoor location application is here." If the number of attendees is any indication, there is certainly a huge amount of interest in this area. Thanks to WCA for putting this together and to Qualcomm for hosting the event.
Raj started by posing questions to the panelists on the differences between indoor and outdoor maps. The panelists concurred that the indoor world is different and the users have greater expectations on their interactions with indoor maps. Next he established the need for indoor maps - that applications can provide far richer user experiences using indoor maps. Raj then steered the conversation towards positioning and the value of indoor positioning. Once again, the application developers established that this is extremely valuable data and they would willing to pay to get this information accurately (within 5m). Finally, Raj posed the question on the business model viability - saying that there is a need for this technology, but who is willing to pay for it. There was agreement that the value provided to the end user is high enough that this ecosystem will have its own velocity and momentum.
KPIX, the Bay Area CBS channel, featured Micello CEO, Ankit Agarwal, in the 11:00 pm evening news that aired on Friday, Dec. 3rd. 2010. In the interview KPIX Anchorman Joe Vasquez meets Ankit at a local Shopping Center, Cupertino Village, and they use the Micello Maps application on an iPhone to search for "Coffee" and get turn-by-turn directions within a map of the Mall to the Coffee Shop. Here is an excerpt of that interview:
This week might be a short one, but it hasn’t been short on interesting industry announcements. The biggest of which being that Microsoft has recruited OpenStreetMap (OSM) founder Steve Coast to join their Bing Maps Mobile team as Principal Architect.
The geo industry has been buzzing about the news -- Coast being a towering figure in the mapping world and one of the most prominent advocates for open data. Microsoft seems to be increasingly interested in challenging Google’s map offerings and building up its own arsenal. In August, Bing added an OSM layer to its maps and is now allowing its aerial photos to be used by the OSM community. Not surprising since the future looks bright for the industry as a whole, especially as location continues to increase in importance. There are a number of reactions to the news worth reading, including on All Points, James Fee, GISuser, and ReadWriteWeb.
In other news, Wi-Fi provider JiWire has acquired NearbyNow which, paraphrased by TechCrunch, “allows brands to show products within an app or an ad and confirm availability of the product in the actual store. Users can also reserve the product in the store for pickup.” JiWire is making bullish moves into the LBS sector, and is trying to move beyond check-ins by combining location-based advertising with merchandise platforms. A report released by JiWire last week seemed to pre-empt the deal, showing off high numbers of LBS usage during the holiday season.
Micello’s Android/iPhone application was featured in an article by Patrick May in this morning’s San Jose Mercury as a great app for shoppers during the holiday season. Micello Maps currently holds over 2000 maps throughout the country, with many more on the way. Search for products, navigate and find your way around confusing shopping malls, using our intuitive and clutter-free interactive maps. From the article:
Ankit Agarwal, CEO of Sunnyvale-based Micello, says his app does for the inside of shopping centers what Google maps has done for the world outside. It’s fairly simple — sort of an interactive map that allows you to locate products inside a mall and then get walking directions to your destination. It’s easy to use, with a clean interface that removes much of the aggravation shoppers experience as they navigate through the increasingly cluttered realm of the modern shopping center.
A survey on the uses of LBS by Wi-Fi provider J-Wire, found that 61% of respondents found store location to be the most important LBS feature:
Ask someone under 30 if they’ve read the Harry Potter books and, most likely, you’ll get yes for an answer. It’s no surprise then that last week’s company lunch was full of talk about the upcoming seventh movie (to be released on 11/19). In fact, we got so excited that we decided to try something new: create a fictional map of the Hogwarts Castle. It took some time and extra imagination, but as of tonight, Hogwarts stands to be explored in the Micello Maps application (iOS/Android), somewhere in the reaches of Scotland, bordering the shores of an icy loch. It’s like a Marauder’s Map for your smartphone (which I’m sure Harry would have appreciated.)
Micello will be at a couple of events tomorrow: