In recent years, companies have been developing something called IPS, or indoor positioning service, which would allow your phone, tablet or any other wireless enabled device to be constantly tracking certain signals in your location by using Wi-Fi signals that already exist in the building. Some companies, such as Google, already offer mobile maps of locations like shopping malls and airports, and according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, analysts believe that further advanced indoor mapping and tracking could be used to “direct users to their gate at the airport, provide audio tours in museums or push offers to consumers based on where they are standing inside a store”. Also, Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling “believes that data about consumers’ indoor whereabouts could be extraordinarily valuable for retailers studying foot traffic and making merchandising decisions”.
Another extremely large market that could benefit from an indoor GPS application would be the medical field; especially medical centers that have massive offices or campuses. Time is sometimes of an essence when it comes to hospitals and people would probably rather not spend that time trying to find where their loved one’s room is located or even what building their appointment is in. An indoor GPS would allow people to quickly find their destination and probably reduce stress levels dramatically. This could also apply to college campuses, where students are notoriously late on their first day because they can’t find their classroom.
One possible drawback to an indoor GPS would be privacy; however, it is highly unlikely a company would market a service unless there are definitive guarantees that your data is safe and your location won’t fall into undesirable hands. There also wouldn’t be such a large number of companies interested in the indoor GPS market if they thought it would have serious privacy risks. Overall, despite the privacy concerns, the indoor GPS will probably be highly beneficial for consumers in the near future, but more so, very profitable for the retail, hospitality, entertainment and medical industries.