In-Location Alliance promises better indoor mapping

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Indoor location services have today received a big boost with the announcement of an industry consortium aimed at promoting them.

Nokia, Samsung, Sony Mobile, Broadcom and 18 other companies have teamed up to create the In-Location Alliance.

"The aim of the In-Location Alliance is to act as a pioneer opening up new business streams for indoor environments. Indoor positioning is the next frontier of mobile services, offering great opportunities to enhance consumer experiences," says the group in a statement.

"For the benefit of enterprises, the Alliance will drive a world-wide indoor positioning system for use in major venues. Our pilots, along with technical evaluations, are paramount for driving rapid market adoption."

The group plans to work together to develop solutions, with pre-commercial pilots starting this year. The aim is to bring consumer handset products to market as soon as next year. It's a little hazy about the technologies, although both Bluetooth 4.0 and Wifi have been mentioned.

GPS doesn't work too well indoors, as systems can't always establish a line of sight link to satellites. Nor is it as accurate as many would like.

The Alliance quotes applications such as navigation within a building and improved security; more likely is a blizzard of precisely-targeted advertising.

"The indoor location market sits on the cusp of a wave, with the market set to reach a significant number of installations in 2015-2017," says ABI Research analyst Patrick Connolly.

"With a huge number of proprietary technologies vying for position, the establishment of the In-Location Alliance can encourage innovation, lower costs and, ultimately, widespread adoption of standard based technologies and solutions."

While the group has some pretty heavyweight members, there are two notable omissions. Neither Apple nor Google, which both have a strong interest in location services, has signed up.