An Indoor Positioning System (IPS) works in much the same way a Global Positioning System (GPS) does. The difference is, you can’t bring your Garmin in or use a smart phone navigation app built that’s built for roads to find your way around in a mall or warehouse. Indoor Positioning can be used on a smartphone, however. A map can be made for your business that customers and employees alike can use to navigate the environment.
How does this work? A number of businesses utilize IPS to help people navigate large facilities. This includes airports, hospitals, malls, and stadiums. Smart phones possess internal sensors. These are what make GPS so accurate. By comparing the data from a smart phone’s internal sensor to a map, IPS can give you locations and navigation that are remarkably accurate.
Yet GPS has three limitations. It can sometimes experience lag, its accuracy is sometimes limited to large distance approximations, and it is two-dimensional. When you’re driving even as slow as 20 mph, an accuracy of 100 ft. is pretty reasonable. Streets are far enough apart that the GPS can still be accurate from a practical standpoint even if it can’t locate your position precisely within a 100-ft. radius. This would be unwieldy for an IPS. 100 feet can contain several stores and multiple hallways. It can also include multiple vertical levels.
To get around this, IPS can also utilize sensors. Their data is combined so that you can sense and calculate with much more precision than the base approximation of a GPS. They also cut down on lag because they’re utilized only for your IPS. Furthermore, with sensors on multiple levels, your IPS system can accurately detect what floor a person is on.
GPS pretty famously relies on satellites to detect where your car is as you drive. This means that GPS can cover the entire world’s worth of roads. IPS solutions essentially boil the world down to your location – your airport, hospital, mall, stadium, warehouse, or other large facility. This means its lag is cut to almost nothing, it’s precise down to distances of feet, and it can accurately read what level the person using the IPS is on. This makes it easy to help that person navigate your facility.