IPS, or indoor positioning system, is the technology that can wirelessly locate not only objects, but people inside of a building. As opposed to that “legacy” global positioning system which relies on satellites for its information, IPS uses nearby “anchors” to detect the location of an object. Or, you know, you.
An example cited by Extreme Tech looks at the Nike+ app which tracks running speed and distance. In an IPS situation, you can track how many steps you’d take, much like a pedometer, or how many stairs you have climbed. It will know which workout machines you’ve used. It can tell you how long you slept last night.
As awesome as it sounds, it also seems a bit creepy. In an era where privacy matters are a growing concern, IPS just seems like one more tool in which we can share a little too much information with the ether, not exactly knowing the outcome.
Despite that, IPS can be just for you and your device, just like GPS. There wouldn’t be a broadcast of your latest sleeping patterns without fair warning. The technology itself is designed to deliver useful locator services that pick up where GPS leaves off.
Take for example a firefighter going into a burning building. An IPS can track movement of said firefighter, giving first responders a useful tool in keeping their heroes better protected. Perhaps IPS could be used for retail merchandise and work as a preventative device in theft, much better than those ever-failing security tags.
One company is already field-testing their Wi-Fi IPS for iOS 5 in iPhones.
Pole Star is fine-tuning how it works for the iPhone (News - Alert), the obstacle being getting sensor data to app developers. Pole Star’s technology is known as NAO Campus.
“Bringing our service to iPhones is another huge advance that will make NAO Campus potentially available to 75 percent of smartphone users,” said Christian Carle, Pole Star CEO.
“NAO Campus indoor location technology has truly proven itself on Android (News - Alert), guiding our passengers in real time. We have decided to invest in this phase of testing to speed the release of our My Way Aéroports de Paris application on iPhones,” said Olivier Tarneaud, Aéroports de Paris Marketing Director.
As Extreme Tech points out, the data shared to get IPS to work properly is a lot, and perhaps it’s a lot to share with everyone around you. Conversely, in a time when we’re all glued to our screens, it would be a nice change to use technology that would have us actually look around instead of staring at our mobile devices.
Edited by Jennifer Russell