Menu
NTT to roll out indoor navigation using smartphone sensors

NTT to roll out indoor navigation using smartphone sensors

Designed for Japan's complex rail hubs, the service would guide users based on their steps

This map from Zenrin DataCom shows what a new navigation service fro Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo will look like. The service uses motion and barometric sensors in smart phones to determine location in indoor environments where GPS signals may not reach.

This map from Zenrin DataCom shows what a new navigation service fro Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo will look like. The service uses motion and barometric sensors in smart phones to determine location in indoor environments where GPS signals may not reach.

Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo wants to go beyond GPS with a more granular smartphone navigation system for complex indoor spaces.

DoCoMo has partnered with mapping company Zenrin DataCom to develop the navigation system that makes use of sensors in smartphones. It's designed to help users find their way through Japan's dense indoor spaces such as subway complexes or underground malls where GPS signals may not reach.

Japan has some of the busiest and largest rail hubs in the world, with multiple floors, overlapping rail lines and subterranean shopping arcades. The new platform uses smartphone motion sensors to track direction when a user walks around. The data is plotted against preloaded maps from Zenrin, which supplies mapping apps for all DoCoMo mobile phones.

Atmospheric pressure sensors, or barometers, in some smartphones can also be used to detect when users of the navigation service climb or descend stairs or use elevators, according to DoCoMo. When that happens, the appropriate map for the floor or outdoor environment is automatically called up.

"There's strong demand for a low-cost indoor navigation service," Takuya Ori, a spokesman for NTT DoCoMo, said via email, adding there are no comparable navigation apps that use sensors in smartphones.

DoCoMo plans to roll out the feature from April in Japan as an add-on to its Android map application. It will start with 320 indoor locations around the country, and the monthly user fee will likely be around ¥300 (US$2.50).

The service will likely start with Android smartphones that have the appropriate sensors. DoCoMo also carries the iPhone 6, which includes a barometer that can determine relative elevation.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilemobile applicationsconsumer electronicsNTT DoCoMo

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington

Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange, in association with Arrow ECS ANZ, ForeScout and StorageCraft, went on the road to debate the early implications of GDPR in New Zealand, extracting opportunities while evaluating challenges for the channel in the year ahead.

Kiwi channel debates GDPR as Reseller News Exchange hits Wellington
Show Comments