The Silicon Review
Location at the tip of your finger
We will live in a world where we rely on mobile devices for finding, connecting, communicating, organizing, and playing. Consumers spend a high percentage of time indoors and having access to the power of the online world at schools, shops, and airports makes life more convenient, efficient, and fun. Sensewhere has seen that technology develops very quickly and with retail evolving into the online world, traditional physical retail is threatened. However, an opportunity exists to harness the power of online retail to improve engagement, loyalty, and ultimately total revenue. Intelligent analysis of behavior, location, inventory, and trends enables retailers to connect with consumers in a much more impactful manner.
Sensewhere is a pioneer in the indoor location industry with its own unique approach to position triangulation using a mobile device. Its biggest goal is to connect the world in a way that is relevant, advantageous, clever and seamless to the consumer. This is enabled by the company and eventually making sure all its users feel that the location is at the finger top of its users. The company emerged from pioneering technology developed by a team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scottish Government. The team was joined by commercial experts from leading technology companies in order to found Sensewhere in 2009. Sensewhere’s indoor location technology is underpinned by an extensive patent portfolio. The software enables indoor positioning, with no additional infrastructure, in areas where GPS satellite signals are weak or blocked such as indoors or in dense urban areas.
The Indoor Positioning System
Sensewhere’s Indoor Positioning System (IPS) determines indoor positioning on a mobile device using available signals from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and motion sensors. The Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) and cloud-based servers use automatic crowdsourcing to build a global database of transmitter locations in order to extend indoor coverage and improve accuracy.
GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) including Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou, have been deployed to provide location information for vehicles and mobile devices around the world. In order to work accurately, line-of-sight visibility to a sufficient number of satellites is required. Indoor environments such as malls, airports, hospitals and stadiums – or even built-up urban areas – are GPS black spots.
That’s where Sensewhere comes in. Our innovative technology provides universal location and navigation data where GPS signals are blocked – filling the gap. Sensewhere has developed proprietary and patented technology for positioning when indoors using existing Wi-Fi and BLE signals and sensors including barometer on mobile devices. The result is accurate positioning throughout indoor venues. The automatic crowdsourcing builds a global database of transmitter locations for the most complete positioning coverage indoors, all using anonymous privacy-compliant data.
Sensewhere has a hybrid approach for indoor positioning. The Android system uses both Wi-Fi signals and BLE beacon signals for indoor absolute positioning. The iOS version is dependent on BLE beacons for indoor absolute positioning. Sensewhere algorithms use GPS signals when available for positioning and for calibrating the location of Wi-Fi and BLE beacon transmitters. Motion sensors are used for relative positioning and for detecting motion. The result is a continuous estimate of the position that is seamless between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The end-to-end system has been deployed at scale to handle billions of location requests. Recent innovations include the addition of Simultaneous Location And Mapping (SLAM) techniques to improve the positioning accuracy and identify traffic areas. Also, the system is capable of computing a discrete position or a continuous track of positions.
The Company’s Expansion
Tencent - one of Asia’s largest providers of Internet services - has selected Sensewhere indoor positioning software as part of its Tencent Map Location SDK that is available to numerous users across Tencent mobile platforms and mobile services of Tencent affiliate companies. Sensewhere’s unique, highly scalable approach greatly enhances Tencent Map’s indoor positioning and location advertising capabilities and enables their users to navigate indoors in a much more accurate and convenient way. The rollout of multiple Sensewhere incorporated services to millions of users across China and contiguous territories represent a major step forward towards our goal of providing a truly global solution for indoor positioning.
The Leader behind the Growth of the Firm
Rob Palfreyman, CEO and Co-founder:
He is currently working closely with the core team in developing the company business model, product strategy that includes strategic direction and Customer development. He also works with venture capital partners and other company investors. Prior to Sensewhere, he was part of W1 Consulting UK for over three years as a Partner and Director. He also was part of Nemerix as the EMEA Sales Director. His experience doesn’t stop here; he was also part of Pericom Semiconductor, Cambridge Positioning Systems Ltd, and IDT.
“The company wants people to have the power of location and target markets served by indoor positioning.”