Apple made some interesting announcements yesterday at their annual WWDC 2017 event.
Among those, we picked up on two particular topics:
- Indoor maps (for malls and airports)
- Augmented Reality kit (for developers to enhance their apps with AR)
We are very happy to hear this news as it bears benefits to the industry (and not so much for some companies who (unlike us) rely on using the corelocation tech provided by Apple – who could potentially eat into their business…)
So what does it mean for the industry?
We see the adoption of indoor location technologies a little similar to where WiFi was about 15 years ago. Slow at first, people questioning the benefits and cons and eventually becoming an unavoidable must.
Indeed, the emergence of maps and technologies that rely on location, such as Uber, Google Maps, Tinder…. Have changed the way people live their lives. Hence we are excited that other companies are now taking it serious to bring this same benefit into the indoor experience like us.
Typically, you need maps to display content so that users can consume and interact with the environment of sorts. At Pointr we can work with numerous map providers, and Apple can be one of them. What we do differently thought is the core positioning engine, AKA “our signature indoor positioning engine”. That is what we have been focusing on since day one and in addition to that we’ve been growing our portfolio to include things such dynamic wayfinding, location based engagement and machine learning based location analytics. The difference in Apple investing in this space is they are still limited to only being a single platform (iOS) and have the potential to scare off customers with their closed environment/ownership structure of the maps. On the other hand, our delivery is multiplatform and the maps we design can collaborate with those of Apple’s to give each client exactly what they need.
Moreover, AR and VR have been super hot in the press recently. For example, our recent release with Gatwick Airport. With such toolkits (Facebook and Google also have similar products), we will see more and more applications emerge. It’s unclear whether we would use their kit (as we develop everything multiplatform for native mobile platforms in-house), we are still happy to see such developments
Overall, with Apple offering more indoor support (several years after Google, we have to note), we believe more and more applications will thrive and this space is about to change radically.
So, why do good restaurants choose to place themselves closer to other good restaurants? Because that’s where the traffic is. It’s a snowball effect, two restaurants become three, four and the next thing you know it that place becomes the go-to location for dining.
We see Apple investing in this space as a great way of educating the retailers, airports and hundreds of other types of venues on the importance of indoor location. With this, more and more companies will be looking to adopt indoor maps and the benefits it brings. A definite plus for everyone.
A stressful day for some, but not for us.
Luckily we have been building our own location engine and that’s the core of our business. Hence, this announcement is actually quite positive as we can collaborate with their existing maps and even provide Apple with a superior positioning system and experience.
However, companies whose business were to deliver custom made maps and use Apple’s Core Location tech are now in a bit of a pickle as their USP won’t be that strong and eventually will cease to exist.
Stay tuned for more of our blog posts and please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss indoor location opportunities with us.