Indoor Mapping FAQ: 5 important questions answered (and not one map/navigation pun)

Whois winning?

In terms of sheer volume, Micello is the clear winner at the moment with over 8500 maps. The rest of the chasing pack is made up by Point inside, Navteq and smaller app-based mapping solutions from fastmall and Aisle 411. Google has publicly announced less than 100 maps but it is clear that this number will balloon over the next 12 months. Both Apple (acquisition of C3 technologies)and Microsoft appear to have taken a longer term view, focusing on panoramic photography as the best way to support indoor mapping. Given TomTom's recent woes, it is surprising not to see TeleAtlas/TomTom involved in this space, but this may change.

Will we see major acquisitions?

Considering this marketis undergoing a bit of a landgrab at the moment, we may see some acquisition, especiallylarger players that have not developed their own internal solution yet.However, what is probably more likely is partnerships and licensing as major players look to bulk up their offering with a view to fleshing out their own maps over time.

What buildings arecompanies mapping?

Museums, airports, stadiums, shopping malls and college campuses have been the initial focus, but the real battle is going to be for retail stores. This is where the revenue in indoor location lies and everybody is chasing it. With low cost indoor location technologies being deployed/trialled at a host of major retailers in the US, mapping will also become important.

Wont free user generated mapping from Google and others win out?

Not necessarily. While smaller retailers will look to work with Google, Facebook, etc, there is far more value inindoormapping and location of large retailers. These same retailers nderstand this and will be slow tolose control of their own shopping environment. As a result, this is one of the first industries to emerge whereFree is not always the best policy.

Is mapping really Essential?

This is an important question. for the last few years, many have identified the lack of an low-cost and easy way to amp indoors accurately as one of the major barriers to indoor location. This holds true if the plan is to provide indoor navigation. However, in the case of analytics and even advertising to some degree, the location of the user is enough. A map is not necessarily required at the application level. Having said this, maps will enable many more features and sevices and ultimatley are a significant part of the overall ecosystem. As retialers look to support branded apps and in-storediscovery, mapping will be essential, combining it withinventory, offers and POS data.