Recently, CSR, who is mostly recognized for their GPS chip technology, has announced a software development kit (SDK) for Android to integrate the SiRFusion library into mobile apps running Android 4.4 or later to enable indoor positioning.
According to Dave Huntingford, director of product management of CSR, the company realized around four years ago that even though the demands for outdoor positioning using their technology were mostly met, indoor was the next frontier. So, CSR began focusing on the problem by utilizing technology currently found inside mobile devices which would not require the installing of extra infrastructure to buildings. These types of technologies included the Wi-Fi radio and the micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors such as the gyroscope and accelerometer. The end result was to attain approximately 5 meter location accuracy.
Here’s how SiRFusion gets the job done. Upon the detection of Wi-Fi access points inside a building, the SDK is designed to capture their SSID or MAC address, determine their specific location and store the points in a database. Trilateration of Wi-Fi access points is one technique to identify position. Limitations include variations in signal strength and quantity of access points available. MEMS sensors provide momentary, inertial measurements such as dead reckoning. The mobile device can identify, for example, the number of footsteps by the user.
According the the CSR press release from today:
The system automatically crowd-sources a venue’s indoor Wi-Fi signatures as consumers walk through the location, and it has also been designed to accommodate future proximity and location technologies such as Bluetooth Smart beacons, Wi-Fi Round Trip Time (RTT), and Indoor Messaging System (IMES).
And so, as Huntingford made clear, the quest when it comes to ever-better positioning is never ending, hence the desire for an architecture that is versatile enough to support new technology as it comes online. The Android SDK for SiRFusion will be released in the first quarter 2015; incorporation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology will most likely be available by Q2 2015.