Micello Blog: Indoor Cartography

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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

Location is EVERYWHERE, and tomorrow its at the Wireless Communications Alliance, Location Based Services event, Locationpalooza!  

Get the Early Bird Special, RSVP today, don't miss your chance to network with the who's-who in the app industry.  Help celebrate WCA’s 4th anniversary at their most popular event, hosted by Nokia, Thursday, August 11.  

Moderating the event will be Nokia’s Mark Kleinmaier.  Mr. Kleinmaier is part of the Business Development, LBS team at Nokia.  He has a strong background in technology, business development and corporate strategy.

Guest speakers include:
-- Bryan Trussel, CEO & Co-Founder, Glympse- a mobile service that allows GPS-enabled mobile phone users to share their location via a Web-based map for a pre-set period of time with anyone they choose.
-- Dave Elchoness, CEO & Co-Founder, Tagwhat- a world of originally produced and curated videos, photos, and audio to enjoy against the backdrop of your real life.
-- Nick Bicanic, CEO & Co-Founder, EchoEcho- echoecho- an easy way to ask and answer the question "Where are you?" With a few simple clicks. You can find your friends anywhere in the world.
-- Bart McCormick, VP of Business Development, Poynt- a free local search application for iphone, Blackberry, and Android.
-- Richard MacKinnon, CEO, ChimpIt- a"You Are Here" notebook application providing accurate nearby search results.
-- Lawrence Coburn, CEO & Co-Founder, HYVE by DoubleDutch- an application designed to improve worker productivity and make it easier to collaborate across multiple lines of business.
-- Liz Rice, Vice President, Thrutu- an application that lets you share all kinds of information and media while you’re on a call, at the touch of a button, and without disrupting the conversation.
-- Ankit Agarwal, CEO, Micello- mapping the great indoors! A location based services application focused on indoor mapping.
-- Sunit Lohtia, CEO, GeoQpons by XYMOB-  a mobile coupon application that empowers consumers to save significant dollars at their favorite local and national retailers.

For more information on WCA LBS SIG Locationpalooza! click here.

August 10, 2011

Indoor mapping makes it television debut on Fringe, the FOX hit series. In the latest episode, a bomb has gone off in a crowded theatre. The emergency teams are on site and its chaos. Luckily, Fringe’s Agent Farnsworth uses an indoor map of the theatre on her mobile phone to navigate her way through the destruction.

President Obama proposed a similar idea in his State of the Union address earlier this year. The President said "...it's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building on to a handheld device." Thats micello!

The idea of using indoor maps is catching on and micello is leading the way. This might have happened in Hollywood, but tens of thousands of people around the world are already exploring their world with indoor maps. Check out the Micello Indoor Maps application on iOS, Android, as well as on the web! 

May 11, 2011

During the first day of the APPNATION 2011, conference we came in contact with the Unsocial team, a location-based mobile networking tool that lets you connect with other business professionals near you. Unsocial was the official Appnation 2011 conference application. 

Unsocial connects you with the business professionals you need, and those who need you- people that you don’t know, but should know. It also provides you with detailed lists of events and conferences in your area where you can network and maximize your brand.

At the micello booth, we were showing off a map of the Moscone Convention Center, including a map of the exhibitor area. After a few minutes, we decided there had to be a way for micello to work with unsocial- and there was.  The Micello Indoor Map APIs made it very simple for Unsocial to include and display our map data in their app! Overnight, yes, OVERNIGHT- the grand scheme of things came together and gave Unsocial a great map to share with users and APPNATION attendees. Unsocial provided the map experience on both iOS and Android devices!

Check out some screenshots from the iPhone below!

 

April 28, 2011

Micello mapped the main exhibitor hall at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco for APPNATION 2011. Micello not only attended the conference, we also provided attendees with a step-by-step directions to their must see vendors at AppNation through their Micello Indoor Maps app on iPhone/Android. 

APPNATION is a global conference focusing on the applications marketplace. The event covers social and mobile applications for all devices and platforms including social media, smartphones, tablets, and other emerging connected devices. Companies like Samsung, Intel, BlackBerry, Opera and Qualcomm had pretty large exhibits and were showing off some pretty neat stuff! 

Special thanks to Samsung (SMI Group) for giving us a pod at their booth. Micello showed off the Moscone Convention Center map, as well as other places in the neighborhood, on a gorgeous Galaxy Tab device!

Micello had the opportunity to connect with other vendors and developers throughout the two day conference. Being able to introduce our company to new people is always fun. Watching facial expressions and the all out excitement on someones face when they “get it” is awesome. We are so happy to have witnessed so many “ah-ha” moments at APPNATION, and excited to spread the word about the industry's first ever indoor map APIs

April 27, 2011

Its time for live racing in Kentucky- Horse racing that is, and micello has a map to help you place your bet, grab and drink and make your way to the track- fast.

Twice a year, April and October, you can find racing enthusiast, men, women and children- dressed to impress and ready to pick their favorite horse to win the race at Keeneland. This year marks the 75th anniversary for Keeneland race track- a timeless tradition in the Bluegrass State. Lexington, Kentucky- “Horse Capital of the World” comes alive this time of year and every year the crowd gets bigger.

Some people come for the racing, some for the atmosphere and some hoping for that one great pick they can take all the way to the bank. Whatever the case may be, micello’s map makes it easy to find your way from tailgate to post and everything in-between. Download the micello indoor maps application on iOS and Android today and join the action

April 15, 2011

On Monday, people got together at the Mission Bay Conference Center in Moscone for the Data 2.0 Conference. The event showcased startups and applications that are paving the way for sharing information online. Ankit Agarwal, Founder & CEO at micello, spoke about indoor mapping and micello APIs. His presentation was not only highly applauded, it was awarded as the winner of the Data 2.0 Startup Competition.

It was a nail-biting event, with the competition including companies like Min.us, PlantSense, and Chart.io. It came down to the over 4,000+  indoor maps, partnerships with outdoor map companies, and our very sophisticated set of map-making tools. Both the judges and the audience saw the value of micello building the indoor location-based services ecosystem.

Special thanks to @Scobleizer, @bipulsinha, @ajenks and @timguleri for judging at Data 2.0 today, and for their feedback & comments.

For more information on Data 2.0 Conference and to watch the micello presention, click here.
 

April 5, 2011

The NCAA Final Four is at Reliant Stadium and micello has the map for all of you college basketball fans!

Every March, basketball fanatics travel to watch their favorite teams play in the NCAA Final Four; this year, teams will battle for the championship title at Reliant Stadium, in Houston, Texas.

All season, every game counts toward bringing home a banner, teams practice hard and play harder and hopefully we have made it easier for the fans to show their support.

Leaving your seat at any time during the game could mean you risk missing a crucial play that turns the game around or maybe your number being called for that raffle you entered. Micello has developed a user friendly mobile application that takes you INSIDE all of the action. Access our map from your mobile device to find where you need to go and the fastest way to get there. Now you don’t have to miss a second of the action! Find your seat, the concession stands or bathroom right from your iPhone or Android using micello.

Micello’s in-house basketball fanatic, Heather Stickel, will be onsite in Houston for the tournament. She will be taking pictures and keeping us up to date on the action at Reliant. Keep in touch on twitter for her updates and try out the map!

Few screenshots of the map below: 

Reliant Stadium Map 1

Reliant Stadium Map 2

 

 

Reliant Stadium Map 3

Reliant Stadium Map 4

April 2, 2011

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