The world biggest 3D real time localization system deployment ! This post is unfortunately not about mobile phone geolocalization. But it could be what could happen next if some technologies are embedded in our smartphones.

Kazakhstan, the place to be... localized in three dimensions

You probably don’t know Urümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in the North West of China. Nevertheless, it could be one of the city of the future in China. That’s what I’ve understood after reading the proposal sent by the French-Chinese chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. Not far from Urümqi stands Kazakhstan.  And this is where, according to the vendor (Ubisense), that will happen one of the biggest deployment of three dimensional real time localization technology. A lot of L’Atelier’s readers are used to localize themselves with their mobile or with their in-car GPS. But the technologies I want to talk about are not quiet the same.

The system by Ubisense uses tags that could handle temperature from -20°C to 60°C and humidity from 0 to 95%. It transmits ultra-wideband (UWB) radio pulses which can be used to find a human position within half a meter to 200 meters in 3D. They just need a little battery. Because in case of emergency, it could be useful to know your are at the 20th floor of the building. The system allows the tag’s update rate to be dynamically varied depending on tag activity. So « if the tag is moving quickly, a high update rate can be assigned for best tracking; if it is moving slowly the update can be reduced for best battery lifetime ».

When users are not moving,  an inbuilt motion detector - like the accelerometer you could find in an iPhone or an Android phone - ensures the tag transmits again as soon as it is moved. To go back in Kazakhstan, the system will be installed in an oil and gas facility. The goal is to know exactly who was present on the facility at the time of the incident, even if the RTLS could be used for access control and security purposes or managing personnel logistics. I love to have such evolved technologies in my mobile phones! If you add strong anonymization features, it could be the way to manage and monitor crowd during big events, or in railways stations, aiports...

By Renaud Edouard-Baraud
CEO of L'Atelier BNP Paribas Asia