Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung spearhead indoor navigation alliance


Twenty-two companies including Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Samsung Electronics and Sony Mobile have joined forces to create the In-Location Alliance, an effort to improve and expand indoor positioning and related mobile services.

The In-Location Alliance will focus on both consumer and enterprise services including real-time navigation inside buildings, directions to personalized products and promotions inside retail stores and malls, asset/employee location, customer identification and security solutions. Members said they will build corresponding mobile services emphasizing accuracy, reduced battery consumption and usability, relying on open interfaces and standards-based approaches to guarantee a multi-vendor environment. Primary solutions will leverage Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi standards.

The In-Location Alliance--which also includes Broadcom, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Eptisa, Geomobile, Genasys, Indra, Insiteo, Nomadic Solutions, Nordic Semiconductor, Nordic Technology Group, NowOn, Primax Electronics, RapidBlue Solutions, Seolane Innovation, TamperSeal, Team Action Zone and Visioglobe--will begin pre-commercial pilots and business model verifications later this year. The firms expect to roll out handset-based consumer applications in 2013.

Companies conspicuous by their absence from the In-Location Alliance roster include Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which introduced indoor mapping tools with the November 2011 release of its Google Maps for Android 6.0. The app supplies contextual data helping users determine where they are within a building, what floor they're on and where they might wish to go next. Google Maps for Android now includes indoor maps for more than 10,000 locations in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan and Switzerland, including airports, shopping malls, museums and casinos.

Also MIA: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which recently ended its long-term location data partnership with Google to introduce a new iOS maps platform developed in-house. Launching with the forthcoming iOS 6 operating system update, Maps for iOS 6 includes 100 million business listings and Yelp recommendation engine integration alongside anonymous, real-time crowdsourced traffic data, turn-by-turn navigation, suggested travel routes and integration with Apple's voice-activated Siri search software.

The In-Location Alliance said it welcomes the addition of any new member "who is ready to further investigate business opportunities in indoor location based services and sees value and benefits in industry collaboration." 

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