An Austrian startup is developing location-based technology for indoor use with a view to promoting ‘proximity marketing’ and facilitating point-of-sale analysis.
Indoor positioning has hitherto basically depended on WiFi technology. However, the development of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) means that users can now be located more accurately. The technology has high potential in shopping malls, for example, and has become an essential tool for brands looking to make use of ‘proximity marketing’ techniques – i.e. real-time targeting of a consumer who is in a particular place at a given moment. Along the lines of companies such as Toulouse-based location solutions provider Insiteo and California indoor location technology developer Pole Star, Austrian startup indoo.rs, having raised a six-figure sum in seed funding last year, has set out to make indoor location-based services available anywhere and everywhere, on all mobile devices.
The company provides a Software Development Kit (SDK) with an API which enables mobile app developers to incorporate indoor geo-location into their applications. An algorithm calculates users’ indoor position by making use of WiFi-emitted signals, iBeacons (devices which use BLE) and smartphone ‘fingerprinting’. Indoo.rs makes its location and navigation technology available either on a monthly subscription basis or under licence. In addition to app devs, the Austrian firm is targeting chip manufacturers and commercial companies that wish to use the app at complex indoor sites such as shopping malls and airports. How it works is that when a visitor enters a given area, s/he will receive notifications to alert him/her to the shops nearby, and can also be targeted with virtual promotion coupons to entice him/her towards a particular store.
POS optimisation, security monitoring
The indoo.rs system also provides analytical information, notably by anonymously collecting smartphones’ Universal Unique Identifiers (UUID) in order to enable retailers to get the most out of their their points of sale. Working in real time, this in-store location-based system is able to provide a breakdown of which places are being visited most and at what time of the day. All the information is displayed on a heat map with the most frequented spots shown as ‘hot’ zones. Meanwhile the indoor positioning market is constantly evolving. “It’s a good tool for getting to know your customers better, meeting their needs and collecting relevant information on their shopping experience,” explains indoo.rs Marketing Director Florian Freitag. Aside from its value as a marketing tool, indoor location could also be useful for monitoring security in public places and during major events.