Why Is Indoor Positioning Going To Be Huge In India?

Date:   Tuesday , August 23, 2016

Headquartered in Helsinki, Proximi.io combines multiple location technologies under a single roof and enables software developers to develop location-aware application projects and deliver context-aware content to their customers.

A century ago, the rich and brave competed each other on expeditions to uncover the last white spots on the World map. Now that the deepest forest, highest mountains and most far-off places have all been surveyed with satellites, one place remains unmapped. That is the great indoors.

One country that has taken a head start to the race is the USA. In the biggest U.S. cities, the use of beacons and other indoor positioning technologies have become almost a standard procedure among top retailers. However, their leading role in the field may only be temporary. Developers around Europe, Asia, Australia and even some parts of Africa are quickly catching up. One specifically interesting market is India. I will discuss here a couple of points about why I suspect proximity business will be huge in India during the upcoming years.

Why is Indoor Positioning Such a Hot Topic?

Micro-location, position, proximity - these terms are not just buzzwords, but key concepts of the vastly growing field of location-based services. According to a MarketsandMarkets research, the overall market will be growing from the $11.36 billion in 2015 to $54.95 billion by 2020. One of the reasons for this expansion is the new technologies and use cases provided by indoor positioning. Opus Research predicts that the market specifically for indoor location and place-based marketing and advertising will surpass $10 billion by 2018. The speed is so rapid that ABI Research has titled the year 2016 as the \'year of beacon deployment\'. This will provide great opportunities for all the parties involved - the hardware manufacturers, software developers and retailers utilizing the technologies.

Why India?

The first aspect that makes India such a potential field for beacon and proximity experimentation is its role in the mobile app development sector. According to statistics, there are already more mobile app developers in Asia than in Europe or U.S. Once the demand has been raised in India, there are plentiful of apt mobile development houses to realize all the location-aware projects.

The second aspect is the large user base for such apps. The tech-savvy middle class provides a much larger audience for the micro-location tied advertising that could ever be reached in smaller countries. To be specific, the audience in one city alone will surpass that of the whole population of Finland!

Some initial projects with indoor positioning have been already done in India. Mumbai\'s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is one of the first airports in the world to utilize the geomagnetic positioning technology Indoor Atlas for assisting visitors in wayfinding and delivering location-specific offers for airport stores. Additional pilots have been carried out with beacon hardware in the retail and restaurant sectors. Despite the cautious start, I foresee that during the next two years, the usage of location-based services will grow immensely in India, once the technology has been unleashed to its fullest potential.

What will the next few years bring along?

The third reason for why India could be the next hotbed for indoor positioning is the mere amount of population living closely together. As space is tight, every effort in making the journey inside buildings as smooth and effortless as possible is making a huge difference in the everyday life. The ability to use indoor positioning for analytics gathering, assisting and automation, could provide even greater benefits to the Indian market than advertising.

Examples of these use cases are wayfinding systems that assist visitors to their destination through the shortest or least busy route possible. Or even notifications about traffic delays and platform information that can be delivered to passengers at the right time through proximity technology. By identifying the most commonly used paths and bottlenecks, the flow inside buildings can be made as smooth as possible. When these analytics are integrated into the digital settings of the buildings, such as elevators, escalators and electronic doors, the movement of masses can be turned frictionless.

Further aid in everyday life can be gained from the way small commonplace tasks can be automated based on location. For example, checking in to your workplace or marking off a specific task that you have done. Asset tracking - or keeping an eye on your loved ones when they move around in the city or at school - could be additional money and life - saving features.

To sum up, the accelerated advancement of beacon and proximity technologies is deemed soon to reach India at its full speed. If you are not familiar with the technology yet, it\'s now time to get to know what it entails - otherwise you won\'t know what has hit you.