Smart Buildings

Adoption of Indoor Location Technologies Accelerated by COVID-19

This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori. Indoor location-based platforms using digital mapping, indoor positioning and analytics are showing signs of entering the mainstream across a range of use cases in commercial and industrial buildings. As businesses try to find ways of safely reopening offices, factories and campuses, indoor location technologies are helping to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through applications such as social distancing, contact tracing, wayfinding and real-time analytics on building occupancy and space utilization. A recent Inpixon State of Indoor Intelligence 2021 survey of 143 leaders from organizations largely based in North America concluded that timelines for adoption of indoor location technologies have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The top use cases deployed in 2020 and prior were job site worker safety, building energy efficiency, asset tracking, and indoor navigation / wayfinding. * 83% of respondents indicated they have deployed or will in 2021 […]

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This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.

Indoor location-based platforms using digital mapping, indoor positioning and analytics are showing signs of entering the mainstream across a range of use cases in commercial and industrial buildings.

As businesses try to find ways of safely reopening offices, factories and campuses, indoor location technologies are helping to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through applications such as social distancing, contact tracing, wayfinding and real-time analytics on building occupancy and space utilization.

A recent Inpixon State of Indoor Intelligence 2021 survey of 143 leaders from organizations largely based in North America concluded that timelines for adoption of indoor location technologies have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top use cases deployed in 2020 and prior were job site worker safety, building
energy efficiency, asset tracking, and indoor navigation / wayfinding.
* 83% of respondents indicated they have deployed or will in 2021 deploy indoor intelligence solutions for physical distance monitoring;
* 57% of respondents indicated they have deployed or will in 2021 deploy digital contact tracing.

Inpixon, a NASDAQ listed company has been using M&A to strengthen its position in this growing and strategic area. The company has acquired four companies in the last two years, three of which were startups:

* Jibestream, a provider of indoor mapping and location technology was acquired in July 2019. Founded in 2009 and based in Toronto, Canada, Jibestream offers a full-featured geospatial platform that integrates business data with indoor maps to create smart indoor spaces.
* Locality Systems Inc., a technology company based near Vancouver, Canada, specializing in developing indoor location systems for security, visitor analytics and organizational management and efficiency.
* Ten Degrees, a suite of on-device "blue dot" indoor location and motion technologies, including patents, trademarks, software and related intellectual property (IP).
* Nanotron, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, has established itself over the past two decades as a leading provider of innovative IoT solutions for real-time location systems (RTLS) and indoor and outdoor positioning solutions utilizing both industry-standard technologies, such as ultra-wideband (UWB), and patented proprietary wireless communication technologies.

Startup companies are playing an important role in introducing location-based technologies into commercial real estate and many have reported increased demand for their solutions, in line with the above findings.

Our research on Startups in the smart buildings space has identified 49 new entrants offering indoor location-based platforms for the commercial and industrial buildings sector. Many new vendors have appeared in recent years addressing multiple vertical markets including the retail sector, airports, stadiums and healthcare facilities as well as the office market to create a more competitive marketplace.

Partnerships are a crucial element in enabling multiple use cases to be addressed via a single platform. From a buyer’s perspective, such alliances can reduce the complexity and proliferation of offerings from solution providers. Three recent alliances illustrate the diversity of applications in commercial real estate.

In October 2020, MazeMap, a Norwegian provider of digital wayfinding solutions for large campuses such as universities, hospitals, offices, and conference venues announced a partnership to integrate Planon’s software for real estate, space, and asset management and MazeMap’s digital wayfinding solutions. By connecting MazeMap’s technology with Planon’s Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), building occupants benefit from enhanced navigation tools.

Volan Technology, a New Jersey based startup founded in 2018 and dormakaba announced a North American strategic partnership to implement improved safety measures. Volan’s micro-location positioning and emergency response technology has been combined with dormakaba’s access control systems creating an advanced enterprise safety and security solution. Hotel and facility operators now have the capabilities to view their entire staff’s locations to quickly respond in the case of an emergency, run precise contact tracing and rostering reports on thousands of people and rooms in seconds, and automatically lock and unlock entry points saving critical minutes in emergency response time, all with one portable device.

Pointr, a UK provider of indoor location technology founded in 2014, partnered with workplace intelligence platform Comfy to integrate its location services into Comfy’s mobile app, further supporting the safe return of employees to the workplace. It allows employees to safely move around offices with easily navigable maps, orient themselves and quickly access health and safety amenities such as temperature stations, hand sanitizer or PPE equipment. Safe wayfinding can also be configured to enable one-way routing or to avoid unsafe zones, through a single customized mobile experience.

Even though the in-building location-based technologies market is in relative infancy, we expect the demand will continue in the post-pandemic era, supporting multiple use cases in commercial real estate.

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