In the age where smartphones and mobile technology is king, it would be very difficult to find someone who isn’t familiar with GPS. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, GPS means Global Positioning System. It is a navigation system that is based on satellite data that allows just about anyone to determine the precise position of anyone or anything on the planet. The ability of GPS to give a precise location, however, is only precise when outdoors.
GPS doesn’t work well when inside buildings. There could be a number of factors and interferences at play, which governs how it works indoors. But the fact of the matter remains – GPS isn’t as effective when indoors. This is where Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) come in.
What is an Indoor Positioning System?
Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) function like GPS – but for indoor environments. They can be used to locate the position of people or objects inside buildings. The information obtained by IPS are then fed into different pieces of software for a variety of applications for indoor navigation, inventory management, asset tracking, proximity marketing, and even in location-based gaming.
There are a variety of technologies that are being used for indoor positioning. The most popular technologies used include:
- WiFi-based systems
- Bluetooth-based systems
- Infrared Ray systems
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems
- Ultrasound systems
- Ultrasonic systems
- Ultra-wideband (UWB) systems
- Cellular systems
The most recent technology used for indoor positioning is LiFi-based systems, which combine overhead lighting and the power of light-based communication technologies to create a system for indoor positioning. One of the most popular platforms under LiFi-based indoor positioning systems is GeoLiFi®.
What is GeoLiFi®?
GeoLiFi® is a LiFi-based geolocation platform by LiFi companies Basic6 and Oledcomm for indoor environments that aims to provide comprehensive mapping tools for the measurement and accurate visualization of pedestrian traffic. It optimizes indoor and outdoor floor plan information to provide customers with a way to look for and access various points of interest within any establishment while using only their smartphone.
For retail establishments, the GeoLiFi® platform creates an omnichannel shopping experience for shoppers to enjoy on their mobile phones but can also be deployed to increase understanding between retail stores and customers, improve their interaction, and bring the customer experience to another level. It can also provide opportunities for data analysis on traffic enjoyed by various parts around the establishment in order to improve operational efficiency, increase security, and provide more opportunities to increase revenue, not only for retail establishments but also for hospitals, museums, universities, logistics centers, airports, etc.
How Does GeoLiFi® Work?
GeoLiFi® makes use of visible light communication (VLC) technology in order to transmit data. As customers browse and move around a room or building, they are able to transfer from one LED lamp or station to another to receive data. Depending on the goal of the GeoLiFi® system set up, the same or various sets of data are transmitted through different LED lights found at different stations. The data is then received on LiFi-enabled smartphones and tablets and is translated by the application in order to communicate with the customer.
- Provide an in-store, tablet-based “personal shopping assistant”
- Easier store mapping
- Pin promoted products to a virtual map
- Create a visual shopping list to remind shoppers of items that may have been potentially forgotten
- Provide detailed product information to shoppers
- Create a vehicle for the promotion of products, departments, or specials using images and videos
Benefits of GeoLiFi®
Provides a better store experience.
The many features of GeoLiFi® allow retail stores to provide their customers as well as their employees with a better experience within their stores since it is able to function as a personal assistant for both. This is because the platform enables product and store mapping, the provision of more detailed information about various products, and provide visual shopping lists, among other retail-related features. It also provides an additional channel for marketing as it enables geo-located proximity marketing.
Provides real-time analytics.
GeoLiFi® provides real-time data on the interests and behavior of customers within a store as well as insights into their patterns. This allows stores to make calculated and informed decisions based on actual data given by analytics, which eliminates the need for guesswork and making decisions based on “gut feeling” or instinct.
Promotes a better understanding of customers.
Various pieces of information such as customer interests, preferences, and in-store behavior can be collected anonymously using tablets. It allows the gathering of quantified, real-time data on customers, which, in turn, allows the store to create a better understanding of the customers and allow them to make various decisions – from inventory control, staffing, and finance to marketing, promotions, and customer service initiatives – based on the data collected.
Can be used for location mapping.
Location mapping not only allows the giving of directions to various areas around the store but also allows the mapping of traffic within the store. The collected location data can be used to generate heat maps in order to find areas that frequently enjoy high volumes of pedestrian traffic. This gives the store the ability to exploit these areas in order to generate even more profit while also allowing the identification of areas that require more attention in order to formulate better strategies for better traffic.
Better strategies mean more time spent in-store.
Similar to websites where a better user experience can improve sales, a better in-store experience for customers means they are more likely to stay within the store, which then leads to a greater chance of them making a purchase. GeoLiFi® can be used to provide customers with targeted content in order to improve their experience within the store to lengthen their stay. Data on the areas visited as well as the length of stay in each area can be recorded and used to form strategies for increasing sales.
More services but less cost.
GeoLiFi® systems provide a wealth of additional services for data collection and improvement of customer services without incurring high costs. That is because a big part of the system is composed of the source of illumination – the LED light – which doubles as a source of illumination as well as the channel in which information is delivered. Plus, the GeoLiFi® system is energy-efficient, making this a win-win.
Elaborate retail application serves as a personal shopping assistant.
The GeoLiFi® tablet acts like a shopping assistant, which is able to provide shoppers with product information, provide information on recommended items, give directions, locate products, and even engage the customer through engaging visuals. It can also provide the shopper with a visual, virtual shopping list, which reminds the shopper on previous and currently selected items.
Applications of GeoLiFi®
Museums and Art Galleries
The use of GeoLiFi® in museums can improve visitor experience and satisfaction within the establishment making it easier to search for paintings, locate pieces of art, and navigate through the museum. It also helps in monitoring museum activity in order to optimize the locations of paintings, organize activities, and strengthen the interaction with visitors.
GeoLiFi® can improve the efficiency of offices in terms of their operations and energy. First of all, because the GeoLiFi® platform is based on LiFi systems, the offices will be required to switch to LED lighting, which is more efficient energy-wise. It can be used to monitor employee activity within the office as well as in hazardous areas, easier communication with employees, and easily provide tasks based on specific areas within the office.
A variety of features can be added to retail establishments for improving the in-store experience for customers and employees alike. GeoLiFi® can be used by customers in order to search for products and services. It can also be used to locate specific locations within the establishment for products of a shopping list and to ease the journey, and easily navigate the store. It can be used to deliver pieces of content for marketing and improving the shopping experience such as targeted ads, brochures, information on store-wide discounts, recommendations based on the customer’s preferences, and coupons to entice customers to make purchases.
GeoLiFi® can be used in order to improve hospital operations and make it easier for hospital management and staff to monitor patients within the hospital. It can be used to optimize navigation within the hospital to make it easier for patients to locate specific areas within the hospital. It can also be used to monitor patients within the room through light-based markers, which can be set to sound alarms when specific conditions are (or are not) met. It can also be used to easily locate equipment. Lastly, it can be used to optimize the storage of materials and medication within the hospital pharmacy.
GeoLiFi® is a great LiFi-based indoor positioning tool that has a variety of applications across various areas with plenty of benefits that can be enjoyed. Not only does this system provide connectivity between the customer and the establishment, but it also provides energy-efficient illumination for the establishment, making its installation a win-win for all.